IDE Recommendation: Crip Camp

Amber Cheek and Mohammed Shahin from the Office of Accessibility and ADA share how the documentary, now available on Netflix, impacts them.

Mizzou's Mo Shahin and Amber Cheek posing with Crip Camp directors at True/False Film Fest
Mohamed Shahin, Nicole Newnham, Amber Cheek and James LeBrecht pose at True/False Film Festival. Shahin and Cheek are with Mizzou’s Office of Accessibility and ADA, and Newnham and LeBrecht directed Crip Camp.

Now available on Netflix, Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution is a 2020 documentary that follows Camp Jened, a summer camp for teens with disabilities. The film focuses on campers who turned themselves into activists for the disability rights movement and fought for accessibility legislation.

As we approach the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) this summer, Mizzou’s Office of Accessibility and ADA recommends watching the film.

See how Mizzou is celebrating #ADA30 with Disability Culture Month!

Mohamed Shahin

Crip Camp is a film that provides a unique perspective on the lives of youths with disabilities and documents the history of the civil rights movement leading up to the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. But more importantly, it tells the story about the people behind this great movement. It is truly a great film to watch.

Amber Cheek

Crip Camp is a movie everyone should see because it is one of the only films that shows people with disabilities as they truly are: complicated, diverse, powerful, and a part of a thriving community.

Cork board of disability rights movement iconography and images that hangs in Amber Cheek's office

Crip Camp is important because it documents a history that most people have forgotten, the moment when people with disabilities demanded their civil rights. Until I learned about this disability history in college, I felt totally alone as a person with a disability. When I read about the 504 protests, I finally understood that I was a part of a community.

For many years, I’ve kept a cork board covered in pictures of disability advocates in my office. It was particularly amazing seeing a young Judy Heumann and Ed Roberts in the movie for me because whenever I need a little courage to confront a sticky issue as an ADA Coordinator, I look to Judy’s picture and imagine what she would do. Whenever I need to be patient and kind in the face of those who don’t understand, I look to Ed Roberts. Crip Camp will introduce many more young advocates to these amazing people.

It was amazing to not only spend time with Jim and Nicole on the panel for True/False, but also to take them on a tour of our beautiful campus. When I showed them new accessible entrances recently added to older buildings — such as the one now facing the columns at Lafferre Hall — they understood why it means so much to me. We are continuing the legacy of those who came before us, ramp by ramp and automatic door by automatic door.