Larissa Martin is a freelance writer who was born with cerebral palsy. Read her review below of the Netflix original documentary Crip Camp.
I first saw the trailer for Crip Camp a few months back and then after seeing the film, I was blown away. If you are not familiar with Crip Camp, it is a documentary about a camp in the Catskills called Camp Jened, a camp for people with disabilities. The film documents the camp and the disability rights movement.
I was excited when I saw the trailer because it showed real individuals with real disabilities, not actors portraying those who had a disability. It felt more relatable for me as I am an individual with a disability and have felt the things the people in the film did as well despite how long ago everything took place. I have cerebral palsy, am an amputee and a wheelchair user.
Before watching this movie, I knew some things about the disability rights movement but now because of it I now know more and can pass it on to others. I am extremely grateful for this lesson this movie has given me. Every time I have watched the film with somebody, their reaction is always the same “I didn’t know about any of this or thank you for telling me about it.” and “More people need to see this film.” This reaction tells me and shows me that change can come from education simply by watching a documentary. There becomes a newfound appreciation and understanding of what the disabled community had to go through to get to where we are today. I am hoping that those I’ve shared this movie with will continue to share the film with others and start a much necessary conversation with non-disabled and disabled people.
The highlights of Crip Camp are about the campers and what they did throughout the years for the disability community and the rights they fought for basic rights that everyone deserves. Whether those rights are the 504 sit-in or fighting to get the attention of Washington. The movie is truly an eye-opening experience. The ADA was passed in 1990 after these campers turned activists’ tireless efforts. I think it is important for everyone to see adults and children alike. After seeing the film, they will see what a part of history these activist were its important everyone should know about it is a part of our history that’s forgotten that everyone doesn’t know about but should,
I will continue to do my part and spread the word about this because it matters. We as a community matter which is why I believe everyone should see this in schools, workplaces everywhere. We learned about the women’s rights movement, the civil rights movement and even some schools in states are going to allow LBGTQ+ history to start being taught so why not show the entire disability rights movement? I think we owe it to these activists to do at least that and not just teach about the ADA being passed and skip over all the things in between that had to happen to actually get the ADA passed all of it needs to be recognized and that is what Crip camp does so well.
Thanks for your original submission, Larissa. Be sure to share this post with someone who hasn’t seen Crip Camp!