Last week Netflix released Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution. If at all possible watch this movie immediately. I write this not just because it is important to know our history, or because we are generally underrepresented in popular culture (both true), but because it is a great documentary. It’s informative, moving, and occasionally hilarious.
The story begins in a summer camp for teens with disabilities in the early 1970’s and follows campers like Judy Heumann and several others who go on to become leaders in the disability rights movement. Crip Camp includes footage of the camp, the Section 504 protests, and the fight to pass the ADA, along with interviews and casual scenes of the campers throughout their lives. Personally, these casual scenes had the biggest impact. They show these leaders for the vibrant, down-to-earth people that they are.
At this moment, it is very easy to slip into feelings of despair at the tremendous uncertainty our community is facing. Crip Camp is the perfect antidote as it shows that the disability community has faced overwhelming odds before and come out on top. Not because someone extraordinary swooped in from outside of our community to save us, but because we have always been a community full of extraordinary people. When we work together we change the world.