Crip Camp: How did a summer camp spark a disability rights revolution? | The Stream

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Camp Jened is often referred to as a summer camp that started a revolution. For nearly three decades, the small retreat in upstate New York was a summer escape for young people with disabilities. It closed in 1977, but not before sparking the disability rights movement in the United States.

That story is the basis of the Oscar-nominated Netflix documentary ‘Crip Camp’, which was made by Barack and Michelle Obama's production company.

The film opens with vintage footage shot by former camper Jim LeBrecht and the People’s Video Theater, a New York collective that documented liberation movements in the early 1970s. LeBrecht is one of the film’s co-directors and producers, alongside Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Nicole NewnHam.

The time capsule-like film offers a rare look into the personal lives of the campers and counsellors including Judy Heumann, who would go on to play an instrumental role in the disability rights movement.

In this episode of The Stream, we talk to the filmmakers and to activists about what made Camp Jened unique, its power as a changemaker for disability rights, and the work still left to do.

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