Wednesday, 29 April 2020

What I Learned From the Film 'Crip Camp'

Image: Crip Camp, Netflix

I just finished watching the fascinating, fun, exciting and yes, inspirational Netflix documentary film, Crip Camp. Crip Camp is the story of a summer camp for disabled teens that ran during the 70’s and just happened to spawn leaders of the modern movement for disability rights. I highly recommend this film – it’s a riveting story of social revolution punctuated by a sensational 70’s sound track.

So, here’s what I learned from Crip Camp about advocacy and systems change  (in no particular order): 

1.     Optimism and imagination (the fearless and continuous questioning of what is possible) are the two most important ingredients in any movement for social change. And boy, did the 70’s have those in spades.
2.     Movements will have a much greater chance of successful influence if they embrace and include a wide range of allies. A movement for social change will self-destruct if one part tries to dominate or silence other parts for the sake of power.
3.     Leaders of resilient movements for change instil loyalty and the will to NOT back down. A sense of humour in leaders is key.
4.     In movements that include marginalized groups, telling even the most shy or oppressed potential members, “I see you and I believe you about your experience” is a powerful way to engender courage and commitment in members.
5.     Disabled people must speak for the disability community and be in charge of designing the change they want to see.
6.      There are allies in positions of power who will embrace and amplify your message. Find them. 
7.     Laws don’t equal a widespread change in attitude. Laws are only the beginning.




1 comment:

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