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Crip Camp

Beginning in the early 1950s, Camp Jened, in upstate New York, was a place where teenagers with disabilities could go and experience, many for the first time, a place where they could be teenagers and live freely with people like them with disabilities. In the late ’60s and early ’70s, the camp was run by hippies, so there were a lot of freedoms provided that the kids did not get elsewhere. Many of these summer campers ended up migrating to the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley, an innovative center focused on providing services to the disabled. It was here that the movement for passage of the Rehabilitation Act (particularly Section 504) and the Americans with Disabilities act began.  This is a wonderful film that details the path toward the passage of Section 504 and the ADA Act. Fortunately for us, a local theater troupe spent significant time filming the kids; there is a lot of archival footage that is just such a joy to watch – they are being kids, they are funny, and they all talk about being in a place that values them for who they are. The way many of these kids, later as adults, and with the support of many organizations, mobilized to create change is inspiring. Several of those kids are still alive today, and the film contains a lot of interview footage as these older adults look back on their times in the movement and in Camp Jened. Huge thumbs up from me! I absolutely loved this film that is an important and poignant slice of history; it is a film everyone should see. It is amazing to me that, with all of the footage and the people who are still alive today, that this movie was only made this year. I learned an incredible amount of history and about the profound impact these people have had on disability rights. (2020; 5 Stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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