From Human Rights Watch: ‘Crip Camp’ Tells the Story of the US Disability Rights Movement

Submitted by anoopa on Fri, 03/27/2020 - 15:23

By Carlos Ríos Espinosa, Senior Researcher and Advocate, Disability Rights Division

When I was 4 months old, I got polio, and since then I’ve been a wheelchair user. When I was 10, in 1975, my parents found a summer camp for children with disabilities in California and decided it would be a good experience for me.

Summer camp showed me there was a wider world outside my family and that I was able to navigate it. That summer came back to me when I saw the documentary film Crip Camp, which is slated to start streaming on Netflix on March 25.

The film traces the birth of the US disability rights movement to a unique summer camp, Camp Jened, managed by people with disabilities like Judy Heumann and members of the ‘60s countercultural movement. Camp Jened provided a space for self-discovery for many teenagers and young adults with disabilities – a place where they could share common concerns and stories about living with a disability in a predominantly able-bodied world.

Above all, they learned how to love themselves and be proud.