Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

You are here

Crip Camp Reflection

ncordon's picture

Coming from the Bay Area, it is a bit embarrassing that I didn’t know about Berekely’s rich history related to disability rights and culture. I was impressed and personally affected by the portion of the film about the 504 Sit-In where an interviewee discussed the Black Panther’s and Glide Memorial’s support, because these are two groups/institutions that are well-known here. The whole sit-in was remarkable, and I was amazed by Judith Heumann’s patience and determination during the demonstration– 26 days is crazy, but she held her position so emphatically that she and the other demonstrators could not be ignored. I really liked this part of Crip Camp as well as the beginning of the film where the story focused on being a teenager in a disabled body. Camp Jened was a place for physically disabled teenagers to have “normal” teenage experiences. Romances and rebellion were possible because, likely for the first time, these disabled teenagers were not attached to parents or other caretakers to judge or physically prevent an experience. Instead, the abled and non-abled bodied counselors celebrated the campers’ desire to smoke, kiss, etc. Physically disabled people are often infantilized by the very nature of usually requiring a caretaker, but this need should not impede certain “right of passage” experiences that abled-bodied people have. Camp Jened tried to prevent this unfairness and ensure that any teenager have the chance to be young, stupid, and a tad reckless. I’m excited to continue exploring similar themes in my final project!