Crip Camp

  • January 26, 2020
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Eric P. Nelson:

I'll first say, you should see this movie. You should bring your family, you should bring your friends, you should bring your kids, you should bring your neighbors. It's one of those movies.

Internationally known disability rights activist, and one of the figures in the movie, Judi Heumann said during the Q & A, how she was so frustrated and angry that she kept hearing, "I'd never heard this story before," especially from such a liberal and "well informed" crowd as the Sundance community. When most folks think of civil rights, they think Rosa Parks and MLK. Judi Heumann and a lot of the people in this documentery were fighting a completey different Civil RIghts movement, that "Cut across all other movements."

Crip Camp is split into two parts. It opens with Camp Jened in the early 1970's, a Summer camp where "discrimiation was the bond." Camp Jened was a camp for kids with disabilities. This was a time in our history when kids were getting turned away from schools because they were in a wheelchair and they would be too much work. Camp Jened, run by a gaggle of hippies, welcomed these kids and gave them a place where their disability didn't define them.  Archival video footage from the camp shows kids just being kids; having fun, playing baseball, swimming, group discussions, make out sessions behind the cabins, and everything else these kids wished for in their non-camp lives. One couselor put it simply, "These were the kids who weren't getting picked to join in at school, but at Camp, you're up to bat, and if you don't hit the ball, you're OUT."

The second half ot the docuemntary jumps a few year in the future when the Jened kids move to Berkely, which was a little "too passibe" for these Brooklyn kids. They are now using that experience of inclusivity at camp, and leading the disabilty rights movement of the 1970' up throught the passage of the American's With Disabilites Act of 1990. Sit ins, marches, a Capital Crawl, some Black Panthers and a whole lot of badass activitsts then force change when those in power were hell bent on keeping the status quo. 


Release Date: Sometime in 2020 on Netflix