Get to know Judy Heumann: Netflix's Crip Camp highlights disability rights activist


Netflix documentary Crip Camp highlights the remarkable Judy Heumann.

If you're looking for essential viewing, look no further...

In recent years, we've seen increasing demand for documentaries. Indeed, there have been some phenomenal examples, with Netflix fighting to the forefront and delivering some of the very best titles in the realm of non-fiction entertainment. 

The likes of Tell Me Who I Am, The Pharmacist and Don't F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer spring to mind, but the latest to captivate audiences is Crip Camp. 

Directed by James Lebrecht - a former camper - and Nicole Newnham, this inspiring film explores a group of people with disabilities who banded together in the 1970s down the road from Woodstock. 

For them, the future on the horizon looked bleak and blocked by inequality, but Camp Jened provided a safe haven for the handicapped. However, it soon became much more when they realised that they could bring about change for those aspiring for better. 

Aligned with the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Crip Camp is an insightful and glorious celebration of those who strive for justice. 

Crip Camp

Crip Camp on Netflix: Judy Heumann

One of the wonderful people to star in the documentary is American disability rights activist Judith - or "Judy" - Ellen Heumann. 

The 72-year-old civil rights advocate is widely recognised around the world as a prominent leader in the disability community. As the documentary stresses, she has been embarking on great work and projects since the 1970s and has delivered great results, working with non-profits and range of important groups. 

She was one of the people who helped mainstream disability rights, and this documentary is just one way of helping to cement her admirable legacy. 

For much of her life, she has used a wheelchair; she had polio at the age of 18 months. This had a huge effect on her education, but when attending Camp Jened, she grew to further appreciate just how important community and unity is. 

Later, while at Long Island University, she organised numerous protests and rallies to ensure students with disabilities had the facilities and help they needed. From 2010 to 2017, she was Special Advisor for International Disability Rights as appointed by Barack Obama. 

She continues to fight for equality. 

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Judy Heumann reflects on the past and future

In an interview with The New York Times, Judy reflected on the camp experience and society during the time, expressing: "People were working hard and doing many things. But using The New York Times as an example, The Times was not covering disability as a civil rights issue — it was covering it as a medical issue, even when we were having demonstrations in New York City in 1977."

She continued: "The media at large was not depicting us in a positive way. Telethons were a significant way that people were getting information, which focused on helpless people... So, camp was this playground. We were dating like you would if you didn’t have a disability, we were swimming, and playing baseball and arts and crafts, but we were also having time to gather our own voices. It was a liberating time; we could be ourselves and it absolutely helped formulate our futures."

Looking ahead, she assured us there is still much work to be done: "Violence against disabled individuals — it doesn’t get discussed. Nor do we discuss people who have experienced violence acquiring disabilities... Ending discrimination, not just in the area of disability, but more broadly is what we’re looking at..."


Follow Judith Heumann on Instagram

If you're a fan of Judy Heumann and her contribution to making society a better place, it's certainly worth following her on Instagram. 

You can find her over at @theheumannperspective; she currently has just under 2,800 followers. 

Also, copies of her memoir - Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist - are available on Amazon.

In other news, Parasite UK DVD release date confirmed.

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