Guam CEDDERS Reflects On Crip Camp Film

July 26 marks the 30th anniversary of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In honor of this monumental legislation, Guam CEDDERS staff took time from their busy schedules on June 30 to watch the documentary Crip Camp. The documentary offered a raw and authentic portrayal of the people and events that led to the passage of the ADA in 1990.
The seeds of discontent for the status quo were planted at Camp Jened, nicknamed Crip Camp, a haven for teens with disabilities who were often neglected and overlooked by the outside world. Camp Jened gave campers a window to what a world where they were included could look like. This set into motion the events that would lead to the passing of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the 26-day 504 sit-in, and finally to the passage of the ADA in 1990.
After watching the documentary, Guam CEDDERS staff were given the opportunity to reflect on the impact of the message of the movie on their role at Guam CEDDERS. Everyone gleaned different lessons from the documentary. But it was strikingly clear that Guam CEDDERS carries the legacy of Camp Jened forward. The struggle of civil rights leader, Judith Heumann and her friends from Camp Jened has become Guam CEDDERS’ purpose. Their mission is our mission. As eloquently expressed by Denise Sherer Jacobson, an author, disability self-advocate, and former Camp Jened camper, “The ADA was a wonderful achievement, but it was only the tip of the iceberg. You can pass a law but until you can change society’s attitudes, that law won’t mean much.” And as such, we continue our work at Guam CEDDERS of creating partnerships and pathways to increase the quality of life of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

In the film, protestors, carrying signs, march together to demand Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act be signed into law.