Crip Camp (2020) Movie Script

I'm recording now.
I want to shut it off,
I got to press the trigger again.
It should start rolling again.
- Yeah.
- All right.
Would you like to see, um,
handicapped people depicted as people?
Excuse me?
Jim LeBrecht
is a sound designer
at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre
in California.
He was born with a disability
which has nothing to do with his job.
But having the job
makes it possible for him to lead
an independent productive life.
...Tom? That's nice.
Well, it's about his condition.
I was born with spina bifida.
They didn't think I was gonna live
more than a couple of hours.
Apparently, I had different plans.
In the middle of first grade,
I was allowed to enter public school
on a trial basis.
They were gonna see if it worked out.
I mean, at the time,
so many kids just like me
were being sent to institutions.
I remember that my dad used to say to me,
"You know, Jimmy, you're gonna
have to be really outgoing.
You're gonna have to go up
and introduce yourself to people,
'cause they're not gonna come up to you."
My sister Lindsay was a Brownie,
but they wouldn't let me
into the Cub Scouts.
The barriers were all over the place.
I loved music. I loved life.
I wanted to be part of the world,
but I didn't see anyone like me in it.
And then I hear from some people
about this summer camp.
It's a summer camp for, you know,
"fhe handicapped," run by hippies.
And somebody said,
"You'll probably smoke dope
with the counselors."
And I'm like, "Sign me up!"
The wild thing is that
this camp changed the world,
and nobody knows this story.
There's something happening here
But what it is ain't exactly clear
There's a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it's time we stop
Children, what's that sound?
Everybody look
What's going down?
There's battle lines being drawn
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Are getting so much resistance
From behind
It's time we stop
Hey, what's that sound?
Everybody look
What's going down?
Hey, what's that sound?
Everybody look
What's going down?
We better stop
Now, what's that sound?
Everybody look
What's going...
We better stop
Children, what's that sound?
Everybody look...
I remember the first time
I went to Camp Jened.
We take this bus trip
from Manhattan up to the Catskills.
It's about a three-hour drive.
And you get into this really lovely
kinda mountainous areas,
and you could smell, like,
the hot land and the pines,
and you're hearing birds and stuff.
And then we pull into the parking lot,
and these people start
swarming around the bus.
The place has got a bunch of hippies,
and some of them look pretty freaky.
And it's like, wow.
I'm not sure who's a camper
and who's a counselor.
I grew up in Mobile, Alabama.
I saw a sign that said, "Summer jobs.
New York."
I didn't know anyone handicapped.
I was feeling a little anxious
about the kids.
I had zero experience
with disabled people.
I knew as many disabled people as I knew
sumo wrestlers.
So I'm at the front of the bus,
and I was not prepared for the visual
of so many disabled people at one time.
And I froze.
I became paralyzed with fear.
Then somebody behind me
pushed me, because I was in the way,
and that forward momentum
carried me through the summer.
Freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom
Freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom
Sometimes I feel
Like a motherless child
I mean,
when Woodstock was happening,
I remember being at my grandmother's,
listening on the transistor radio,
and saying, "Wish I could go.
Wish I could go. Wish I could go."
And then, when I went to Jened,
it was like,
there I was! I was in Woodstock.
The music and the people...
And just, you're like,
"These people are crazy!" You know?
I mean, in a good way.
Come to Camp Jened
and find yourself, you know?
Freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom
Sometimes I feel like I'm almost gone
It was so funky.
But it was a utopia.
When we were there,
there was no outside world.
A long way from my home, yeah
Singin' freedom, freedom
Freedom, freedom
Freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom
Freedom, freedom
If you wanna stop and look
at anything with the camera, you tell us.
You can do that.
All right, there's... the adult part.
What's that yellow building there?
That's what I just said. The, uh...
The adult part right there.
That's part of the adult camp.
There's one of our gorgeous counselors.
- Say hello.
- Hi, how are you?
Here is, uh, Girls 1.
A place for fun and frolic.
There's one of the campers,
Valerie Vivona.
Is this necessary?
I mean, is this important?
Oh, my...
Is that our director over there?
Yeah, that's Larry Allison.
I understand
you're the director here?
Yeah, I'm the director of the camp, and...
I, uh...
I was just out here by the swimming pool,
watching the kids swim.
I decided to dig a few holes,
'cause the kids are kind of clumsy
and I thought
it'd be funny if they tripped.
Teach us cripples a lesson.
That's right.
Jened was an opportunity to try
to do some different kinds of things.
When the camp started back in the '50s,
it was the, uh, traditional
kind of camp program.
As it evolved during the '60s
and into the '70s,
what we tried to do was provide
the kind of environment
where teenagers could be teenagers
without all the stereotypes
and the labels.
And that was a byproduct of the times.
You know, of social experimentation.
We realized the problem did not exist
with people with disabilities.
The problem existed with people
that didn't have disabilities.
It was our problem.
So it was important for us to change.
Just to say, I like Camp Jened.
And I love Larry Olson.
Good for you, Sophie.
Let's go around the circle.
What's your name?
My name is Ellie Abrashkin.
- Where are you from?
- I'm from Brooklyn, New York.
Hello, my name is Jean Malafronte.
I, uh, got run over by a bus.
I don't know exactly my handicap.
And that's all.
My name is Carl.
And if this is ever
broadcast on television,
my telephone number
is area code 212-YU8-0367,
and I would love anyone who likes to talk
to give me a telephone call.
And I am blind and hard of hearing.
I had too much oxygen in the incubator,
and my hearing,
because I had a fractured skull
from falling out of a cab.
And I will be glad if anyone will call me
who hears this.
This is where I stay.
- Steve's a counselor.
- Wanna take a picture of this cat?
Smile, Steve.
Let's not bump into the campers.
Let's move around that way.
It's been a pleasure,
Steve Hoffman.
Thank you.
Don't make me get a fat head.
You don't have the light to
roll up inside and see what it looks like?
Um, I don't know.
The bunk is a mess.
But we like it like that.
Yeah! Yeah!
Hey, Tommy.
This is Tommy Curran.
Hi, Tommy.
Nobody uses those upper beds, right?
- What?
- The upper beds?
- The counselors do.
- The counselors do.
- Hey, JJ.
- What's happening?
That's the usual state of the counselors.
That first night in the bunk,
I was a little bit nervous.
I had just had surgery.
Up to that point, I was wearing diapers,
'cause I had no control over my bladder.
I guess you could imagine
what it was like being 15
and trying to hide the fact
that you had to wear diapers.
And there was that constant pressure
of being found out.
I had gotten this urinary tract diversion,
so now I had this bag.
It wasn't going too well.
I was having a hard time keeping it on,
and it was leaking and such.
But at camp, everybody had something
going on with their body.
It just wasn't a big deal.
Okay, uh, my first guest,
what's your name?
My name is Michael Tannenbaum.
How old are you?
I was just 18.
Uh, what do you think is the most
significant part about Camp Jened?
The staff.
How great they are.
How good they relate to the campers.
- Are you lying?
- No, I'm not lying.
It's just that I've been in other camps,
and at no other camp
have campers treated...
Have counselors treated campers
the way they do here.
They're not like babysitters.
- That was a good answer.
- Thank you, John.
It's not 100% sure,
but since the new trip
is gonna be coming up Thursday,
what we're gonna try to do
is get the cook to take off Wednesday,
which means that we'll cook on Wednesday.
Do you have any, um, any suggestions?
I was trying to see
if we could make veal parmesan,
but veal is too expensive.
How about just, like, chow mein?
- 'Cause bacon is just more expensive.
- Chicken parmesan.
What do you think of lasagna?
How many people... Raise your hands.
How many people want lasagna?
When do we get not to eat starch?
The only deal is we don't have to eat
those starchy things,
so why eat lasagna?
How many people don't want lasagna?
- Lasagna wins!
- No lasagna wins.
All right.
When you go back into... Mark.
When you go back into your groups,
will you also decide...
Get some suggestions as to what you want,
and when we come back in a group together,
um, we'll decide what
we're going to have to eat.
Okay? If the cook is off on Wednesday.
I felt like
it was important to be inclusive,
because I didn't really have
a lot of role models,
as I was growing up, who had disabilities.
It made people feel like they were more
a part of what was happening.
- Very good idea.
- Yeah!
It was more free and open
than certainly what I was experiencing
in my day-to-day life at home.
I love my baby
My baby loves me
I grew up in Brooklyn, New York,
in a neighborhood called East Flatbush.
Growing up in the neighborhood,
I didn't feel different.
I had polio.
I wasn't able to walk anymore
and things like that,
but there were a lot of kids.
We played outside.
Stick ball and jump rope.
It was a great neighborhood.
So, one day, I was going to
the candy store with a group of friends.
My friend was pushing my wheelchair,
and we went around the block,
and these kids came over,
this one boy said, "Are you sick?"
And I was really, like, taken aback,
and I recall that I meekishly said,
"No, I'm not sick."
But I remember...
I wanted to cry.
I get that feeling a lot even as an adult.
I'm kind of in between
being shocked by the question,
maybe being angry by it,
but having to center myself.
It was an awakening
that people saw me not as Judy,
but as somebody who was sick.
When I was five years old,
my mother took me
to the local school to enroll me,
but the principal said I couldn't go
to that school 'cause I couldn't walk.
I could be a fire hazard.
So basically, my mother w me.
Of course, all my friends
in the neighborhood were going to school,
but I was at home.
Then, one day, when I was
about eight, nine years old,
my mom got a call
that there was an opening
in PS 219, in the special ed classes.
The classes for disabled kids
were in the basement.
The other classes were upstairs.
We would call the non-disabled kids
"upstairs kids."
They would come down, a few of them,
Fridays, help us go to assembly.
They were allowed to come,
and you know, meet us in our classroom
and push our wheelchairs.
There were people that I met
in those classes
who then went to Camp Jened together.
Neil Jacobson, Stevie Hofmann
and Nancy Rosenblum.
We would sit together at lunch,
and I would help people put their sandwich
in their sandwich holder.
And I think we respected each other,
and we all felt that what we were saying
was important.
I mean, in some way,
even when we were that young,
we knew that we were all being sidelined.
We didn't wanna sideline anybody.
We wanted to hear
what everybody had to say.
We were willing to listen.
- Sounds more like...
- Yeah, wow.
You... You... You're always...
You're always talking.
You're... You're always talking.
You're always talking.
That's 'cause
he's a good public speaker.
Jean and I thought I was being,
you know...
I thought so, too.
I think you're really great in the bunk.
When the worst things happen,
you're sitting in the corner cracking up,
and nobody can get depressed
when you're sitting there.
She knows what she's doing
when she's all, like, coy.
You know, I really dig you, Nance,
and there are a lot of things, you know,
I'd like to get to know you better,
but, so far as I know you,
I really like you.
She's very nice, and...
Remember, you're speaking
to her, not about her.
I don't know
too much about you, but you're okay.
Um, there's some people here
who have been filming.
I told them that I would like them
to please address us as a group
so they could tell us their ideas
and we could ask any questions
that we wanted to.
We are People's Video Theater.
That's Ken Marsh, I'm Howie Gutstadt,
and that's Ben Levine over there.
And we have been working
with this equipment,
which is half-inch video tape,
which is simply closed-system television.
Whatever, actually, you really wanna
say about yourselves, let us know.
Let's have a lot of interaction.
- Tommy!
- Hey, Tommy!
- Tommy, look!
- Tommy!
- Tommy!
- Who's on the television, Tommy?
What a ugly face. Oh, my gosh.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
There was a period
of adjustment I had to go through
for the first couple of weeks at camp.
Because I was in public school,
I wasn't around other people
with disabilities.
I wasn't a shut-in. I could come and go
more or less as I pleased.
And not everybody at the camp
had those advantages.
Some of them
were going to special schools.
Some of them were isolated
a lot of the time.
You had people from institutions.
Lately it occurs to me
What a long, strange trip it's been
Being 15, I was drawn
to the people that were
smoking cigarettes and listening to music.
Sometimes the light's
All shining on me
Outside of camp,
I really didn't feel like a cool kid.
But at Jened, I was.
There were a lot of cute girls at camp,
and, you know, I was friendly.
At home,
some people had a hierarchy
of disability.
The polios were on top
because they looked more normal,
and the CPs were at the bottom.
But at Jened, you were just a kid.
We met when we went to Jened,
but he's younger than I am.
When we decided to get married
my mom said to me,
"I understand why you want to marry
a handicapped girl.
But why can't you find a polio?"
Oh, my God!
Oh, my God! Oh, my God!
There's one of
my counselors with a waitress.
This is a little sitting corner
over there.
It's kind of dark over here at night.
So what's that mean?
What goes on there?
A little nookie.
You've been going around
giving me this superficial tour.
Let's have some real stuff.
That's where he and Nanci go off and...
- Who's Nanci?
- She's my girl.
Camp Jened was where I met
my first girlfriend, Nanci.
She was funny. She was cute.
She was always in the middle of things
and having a really, really great time.
I mean, I really loved her.
As much as you can
at the age of 15, you know?
I literally remember us, like,
making out in the dining hall.
It seemed like
we were making out all the time.
There was a romance in the air
if you wanted to experience it.
I never dated outside of camp.
But at Jened,
you could have make-out sessions
behind the bunks
and different places like that.
The first year I was at camp,
one of the women counselors
gave me a whole lesson on how to kiss.
That was one of the best
physical therapies I ever had.
A couple of days after that,
I had my first date
with a girl camper.
And I felt her hand
on my cock.
That was heaven.
You want me
to tell them what happened?
- Yes.
- Oh, well...
Well, two people got crabs,
and, um, they're spreading.
They form in human body in there,
and I don't know...
And they, um... multiply!
In the beginning, when this thing
started happening last night,
we found out what was going on.
We were kind of all very hyper about it.
And who the fuck knew what, you know,
crabs were, or lice or anything?
I wanna go over there.
What's over there?
My girl.
Have you seen her today?
Just from over here.
Have you talked to her?
Not really. Just from across here.
We're all quarantined.
It's our first-week anniversary today.
It's your first-week anniversary,
and you can't even talk to her.
That's right.
- Why I'm mad?
- Your boyfriend.
Oh, yeah.
I'm mad because I can't see Jimmy,
and today is our first-week anniversary.
I got those poor old crab blues, yeah
Haven't had so much fun since
Grandma caught her tit in the wringer!
We're thinking of collecting all the crabs
and having a bake.
We may have to
burn the bastards out.
Oh, yeah I got the...
Just the most asinine, stupid thing
I have ever heard.
When thinking about it rationally,
I realized that I don't itch,
so there's no need for me to disinfect.
My wheelchair doesn't itch,
and neither does my bed,
my mattress or my roommate, Bruce.
Yet we're all in the process
of dehumanization.
Got a match?
We got crab power!
It's the best activity yet.
- I do so declare, y'all.
- Tell them, Jean.
It's spreadable!
You know, how would you like to have
somebody wash your balls?
- That's the part...
- It depends who.
Right, I can do it myself for me.
So, you know, I don't really care.
But there are other people who can't.
You know, and they have to
have it done for them.
You know, people around here
feel small enough most of the time,
and when somebody
has to scrub their balls,
they'll probably feel even smaller.
I think, actually, what happened
was that people were having fun.
We were working together as a whole unit,
washing and cleaning and showering,
and doing things
that we've never done before.
And it's really a very different
kind of a thing.
And I have to go shower some people.
I'll see you later.
At Camp Jened,
personal assistance was built into
all of our lives who needed help.
There were people there that would
help me get dressed and undressed,
and go to the bathroom and shower,
and get in and out of the pool.
In some way, it was also the beginning
of my experiencing
what it would be like to have someone
other than my mother or my father
have to do all those things.
At the camp,
you could do anything that you thought
you wanted to try to do.
You wouldn't be picked
to be on a team back home.
But at Jened, you had to go up to bat.
And if you didn't hit the ball,
hell, you were out.
When we were at Jened,
the Disability Act had not been passed.
So, when we would take the campers
on a trip into town for ice cream,
we couldn't get you in the door.
And then deal with the staring,
or deal with, "We don't want them here
because they make our other customers
feel uncomfortable."
Whatever obstacles that were
in my way being a black man,
the same thing was held true
for individuals in wheelchairs.
Back home, I had to be careful
who I said things to,
because that was a way of surviving.
They were survival skills that you had.
I had to be very, very, very careful
not to be disrespectful.
Not to look a white man in his eye.
You had to do those things.
You had to be mindful of that.
I got the one-time blues
You get them only once
I got the one-time blues
You get them only once
When you're alone with me
You know you can't get enough
My eyes get red
I don't know what to do
My eyes get red
I don't know what to do
I've got so much pain
I don't know if I'm really blue
'Cause I got
The one-time, one-time blues
Are you ready?
- You're on now.
- All right.
We're here now.
We're gonna talk about parents.
You know, and what kind of...
How they bug us, or how you lie to them,
whatever it is.
Maybe we should start off with, uh...
overprotectiveness, which I really hate.
Does anybody wanna start it up?
My parents are great,
but sometimes I hate them,
'cause they're too great,
and they're too protective of me.
And things that I want to do,
and I would love to do,
they say, "No, you can't do it.
You're handicapped."
And they keep reminding me
of the fact that I'm in a chair.
They don't seem to realize
that there's so much I could do.
I think generally a parent is afraid
to show that their son is disabled
or handicapped,
or whatever you might call it.
And, um...
I think it's much more out of fear
than of overprotectiveness.
I depend
on my mother for some things
and so I can't really fight her
as hard as I wish I could.
What kind of things
do you depend on her for?
Some of the things everybody else
depends on their parents for,
like laundry and stuff, but, like...
Like, she's the person
that orders special supplies
when I'll need it and stuff, and...
If I'm in a position where
I'm not able to do something, you know,
she's gonna have to do it.
If you keep on bugging your mother,
saying, you know...
Fighting her constantly,
then there's gonna be a time
when she's gonna be very reluctant.
Does everybody think... Everybody here
think that their parents are,
you know, stricter with us?
Or, you know, do they hit us the same
as your sister or brother,
or they think you have to be careful?
I have two brothers and, um, they got
a lot more freedom than I did.
There goes your argument.
Those are brothers.
That's a universal argument.
- Brothers...
- We're basically the same age.
It's her responsibility to do that.
And as long as she keeps on accepting
things being done for her,
it will always be done.
I'm really bothered by that comment.
- Is that it?
- Yeah.
Did someone understand it?
Did anybody get part of it?
I think Nancy is talking about
what everybody wants.
To be alone sometimes in their life.
Like, to think alone.
And to be alone.
And I think
Nancy is saying that
she's been denied
the right of privacy.
Is that...
Yeah. That's true.
I think that's one of the major rights.
How many other people
have those kinds of problems?
What we saw at that camp
was that our lives could be better.
If today was not a crooked highway
The fact of the matter is,
you don't have anything to strive for
if you don't know that it exists.
We kept having these discussions.
It was allowing us to recognize
we needed to look at
ways of doing things together.
Not just at camp but after camp.
I can't see my reflection
In the water
I can't speak the sounds
To show no pain
When it was time to leave camp,
some of us vowed to stay in touch
and write or call.
Or remember the sound of my own name
There was always a chance that
some campers weren't gonna
come back next year.
Yes, and only
If my own true love was waitin'
The night before the end of camp,
everybody'd be hanging out
almost all night.
Nobody wanted to go to bed.
If today was not a crooked highway
It was a very happy night,
but you knew the next morning,
there would be tears.
If tonight was not a crooked trail
If tomorrow wasn't such a long time
We were going back,
almost in time.
Then lonesome would mean
Nothing to you at all
We were brothers and sisters there.
I took ideas back home
that my community was unfamiliar with.
I wore tie-dye shirts.
My afro had grown really, really...
It was out like this.
I burned incense.
Between the revolution that was going on,
the peace movement,
the desire to stop the war,
I became very involved in that.
Jened had exposed me to
the world outside of Alabama.
At camp,
I was in a whole other world.
My first girlfriend,
and I'm popular, and I'm...
And I'm going back to this world
in which it's hard to get around.
Sometimes I would just, like,
go home after high school
and go to bed for a few hours
and just get away from the world.
I have friends, but I'm the only person
with a disability.
I had to try to adapt.
I had to fit into this world
that wasn't built for me.
It never dawned on me
that the world was ever going to change.
Most disabled people, like myself,
are unable to use public transportation
because it discriminates
against the disabled
due to the fact
that it's architecturally inaccessible.
Those are steps.
So, you have
to stay on the street here...
I have to stay on the street
and go around the block.
Most animal species abandon or destroy
members of the group
which are maimed or deformed.
Some human societies
have been equally harsh.
Down through the centuries,
our literature, and recently, our movies,
are full of monstrous,
misunderstood creatures.
Through this conditioning,
we come to think of the handicapped
as objects of fear or pity or loathing.
Tonight we look at them
as human beings with problems.
Judy Heumann is the president
of Disabled in Action,
a political organization
of the handicapped.
I think one of the real problems is that,
when you grow up being disabled,
um, it's the fact that you're not
considered either a man or a woman
and even the beginning
of any kind of a relationship,
you know, beginning at all because you're
just thought of as a disabled person.
- You know, person being...
- Asexual.
- Yeah, second and asexual...
- Asexual. Right.
...and "Can you do this?"
and "Can you do that?"
Let me give you
an indication of that.
We have an elevator operator in school
that whenever he stops on a floor
and there are a couple wheelchairs,
people in wheelchairs waiting,
he starts yelling,
"All right,
get these wheelchairs in here."
And he doesn't take into consideration
the people in...
You know, the... the...
The people in the wheelchairs.
Yeah, the person there.
It's just wheelchairs to him.
I don't think I felt,
really, shame about my disability.
What I felt more was exclusion.
For me, the camp experience
really was empowering,
because we helped empower each other
that the status quo
is not what it needed to be.
Disabled in Action was started
as a result of a lawsuit
that I had brought against
the Board of Education in New York City.
There was publicity going on and we set up
all these different committees.
One of the first things
that Disabled in Action worked on
was on deinstitutionalization.
There are some aspects of life
which society has hidden from public view.
The following program
will remind you that they exist
and that we all bear
a responsibility to humanity.
I remember watching TV
one evening before dinner
and on comes this expos
about this state hospital in New York
called Willowbrook.
The early morning mist
gave the place an eerie feeling
like a set from a horror movie.
And once inside,
that feeling became suddenly appropriate.
The doctor had warned me
that it would be bad.
It was horrible.
There was one attendant for perhaps 50
severely and profoundly retarded children.
Lying on the floor naked
and smeared with their own feces,
they were making a pitiful sound.
The kind of mournful wail
that it's impossible for me to forget.
It was really shocking.
It was just, like, how could this be?
The kids can't feed themselves.
There are so few attendants
that there's only an average of, in time,
three minutes per child for feeding.
How much time would be
needed to do a job adequately?
The same amount of time
that your children and my children
would wanna have to eat breakfast.
I suddenly remembered
one summer,
there had been a camper at Camp Jened
from Willowbrook.
I remember being in the dining hall
and this guy comes in.
He was basically just eating
as much as he could.
He was just...
Kept on shoveling it in
until the point where he threw up.
It was kind of like
somebody coming in from the wild.
What's the consequence of
three minutes per meal per child?
The consequence
is death from pneumonia.
I had never seen
the inside of an institution like this.
The chaos that existed
was frightening to me
because I recognized that
myself and other friends
could have easily been
in this institution.
At the time, people still
were not thinking of
what was wrong
with the Willowbrooks of the country.
The civil rights movement
was going on around us
and that was an opportunity to talk about
why were we excluded,
and what did we need to do?
There weren't anti-discrimination laws
at the federal level.
But members in the Senate and House
were looking for avenues
to make that happen.
The Rehabilitation Act in 1972
was a perfect vehicle.
Buried at the end of the bill
was Section 504,
an anti-discrimination provision.
The language was drawn from
civil rights legislation in the 1960s.
It was gonna mean that anybody
who got federal money,
hospitals, education, transportation,
on and on,
was gonna have to not discriminate.
It was like a "yahoo" wonderful moment.
And Nixon vetoed it.
The President has vetoed a bill setting up
a vocational rehabilitation program
because he said it would cost too much.
It would be just
impossible in terms of its financial cost
to put in elevators or ramps
in all these stations.
Just costs would be horrendous
in terms of their total.
The problem here is,
as with all of this question,
how many people
would really be served by it?
Disabled in Action decided
to have a demonstration in New York City
in front of Nixon headquarters.
We decided that
we were gonna sit down in the street
and we were gonna stop traffic.
So at 4:30 in the afternoon,
we formed this huge circle.
We cut off four streets.
You get the call to action.
"To the barricades!"
You know, Judy would call it.
I remember being on the ground
with these big trucks coming at you,
going, "Whoa."
It was
a very unusual demonstration.
People were not used to seeing
a whole lot of folks in wheelchairs.
And you had to back up.
I mean, you had to back up
if you were on the wrong side
in front of that young woman.
The newswatch
never stops. This is WINS...
They were announcing,
"Paraplegics stop traffic
in Manhattan."
There were only 50 of us.
But basically, with the one street,
we were able to shut the city down.
Those DIA demonstrations
were the first time
a real, serious, radical agenda
was mobilized.
When I heard about DIA,
I really wanted to join,
but I often couldn't go
'cause I was stuck in high school.
Judy would put out the call
that we're gonna show up to this event
or we're going to demonstrate
about this or that,
and when this call came out
to go to this Martin Luther King
birthday gathering, I had to go.
So I took the train down from Hartsdale
to Grand Central Station.
And going to Grand Central Station,
it's so freaking huge.
That day, I couldn't find
a ramp or an elevator.
I had to climb out of my chair,
pull the wheelchair up behind me,
so step by step, pull it up, push my...
Put myself up, pull it up, push myself up.
But I made it.
And I was there with Pat Figueroa,
one of the counselors from Camp Jened.
In the spring of 1973,
we decided we were gonna have
another demonstration.
The bottom line was,
we were a small group of disabled people.
We were getting very little coverage
from the media at the national level
because we didn't have
any disabled veterans.
And that was, you know,
the time of the Vietnam War.
They lied about the war in Vietnam.
They've lied about
every damn thing in the world.
They lied about Watergate,
and about how they're treating us.
They're lying about how they're treating
the physically disabled
and mentally retarded in this country.
We wanted to be able to mobilize
disabled individuals in D.C.
to express the feelings of the disabled
community around the United States,
and that in unity we do have strength,
and that we must expand the pie
that we're fighting from
so that we don't have to fight each other,
but that we can all get
our adequate services.
That's really what this is getting into.
There's a minority in America
that has only recently begun
to speak up and be heard.
They face problems of discrimination
and prejudice in employment,
education, transportation
and in just about every other aspect
of what society considers everyday life.
Until the last few years, they suffered
mostly in silence, but that's changing.
They have begun to organize
and to get politically active.
- What do we want?
- Civil rights!
- When do we want it?
- Now!
- What do we want?
- Civil rights!
- When do we want it?
- Now!
Eventually, Nixon caved in
to all the political pressure
and he signs the rehab bill.
But they do nothing
to enforce Section 504.
I had graduated college
and went back to live at home
in the Bronx.
I was very isolated.
I was homesick for Jened.
I had to take a bold step.
I was an intern
at United Cerebral Palsy.
And I had an affair...
...with the bus driver.
Because, you know,
I wasn't getting any younger
and I didn't wanna die a virgin.
One night, I had this horrible
abdominal pain.
A surgeon decided
it had to be appendicitis.
They operated
and took out a regular appendix.
My doctor came in,
and he gave me a pelvic
and said, "You know,
I think you might have gonorrhea."
And for one brief moment,
I was so proud of myself.
But then,
when I thought about it,
it was all because
the surgeon decided
how could I be sexually active?
I mean, look at me.
Who would wanna fuck with me?
And so,
I decided
to go back to school
and got a master's
in Human Sexuality.
And that was my ticket
out of the Bronx.
In 1974,
I finally graduated high school
and wound up going to UC San Diego
3,000 miles away.
Truckin', got my chips cashed in
Keep truckin'
My plan was that
I was gonna study acoustics
so I could do sound for the Grateful Dead.
When I got to California,
my whole life opened up.
I wanted to take advantage of everything.
I tried to learn how to surf.
One night, I even convinced my friend Doug
I could drive his motorcycle.
As absurd as it sounds, I really felt
like I had overcome my disability.
During my first year in college,
I heard that a bunch of people
from Camp Jened had moved out to Berkeley.
Sometimes your cards ain't worth a dime
If you don't lay 'em down
I'd drive up
and go to Dead concerts
and it seemed like
I'd always bump into Al Levy.
Al was like the Dead Head.
Sometimes the light's
All shinin' on me
The Bay Area was a wild scene.
You didn't have to worry about fitting in
like you did in San Diego.
There was this whole movement brewing
where a group of radical disabled people
were, like, making
this new world for themselves.
What a long, strange trip it's been
The Center
for Independent Living is unique
because it is run by the handicapped
for the handicapped,
a model for the rest of the nation.
A center where the severely disabled
help themselves.
It's the first time I think that a group
of severely disabled individuals
have really gotten together
to solve some mutual problems.
Ed Roberts contacted me to see
if I'd be interested
in coming out to Berkeley.
I didn't want to go out there by myself.
And I said to D'Angelo,
"What do you think about
moving out to Berkeley?"
And we were roommates.
I wanna see a feisty group
of disabled people all around the world.
I mean, a group of people
who, um, will not accept no,
um, without asking why.
That's really what's so critical about CIL
is that, you know, it's not a card
that you get handed at the door,
but it is kind of a demand that is
expected of people in this community
and that is, if you don't respect yourself
and if you don't demand
what you believe in for yourself,
you're not gonna get it.
My first experience of finding home
was coming to Berkeley
and hanging out at CIL.
I had always kind of pretended
like I wasn't disabled.
You know, I could walk. I would stick
the cane under the couch,
but the whole time I'm worrying
about the minute I have to get up
and everybody's gonna see me limp around.
So I didn't realize
how heavy that burden was
until I was with people
where I didn't have to pretend.
The repair shop
has just about everything.
Even electronic equipment to fine-tune
the battery-powered wheelchairs.
And the center
also provides transportation.
Relying on state, local and federal money,
the goal is to make
the handicapped self-sufficient.
Nanci D'Angelo, may I help you?
Um... Let's see. It shouldn't be
any problem finding you an attendant.
What I'll do is I'll give you
a list of people
who wanna work in the hours
that you need somebody,
and their phone numbers, okay?
- Okay, it sounds good.
- And anything you need, we're here.
Excuse me.
You wanna live in a house,
then that's your right.
You want a two-bedroom apartment,
we'll try to help you find
a two-bedroom apartment.
And here is how you can apply for money
to get attendants paid for.
Want me
to get anything while I'm out?
- Yes.
- What?
Ice cream.
Ice cream? What else?
And candy.
When that whole gang of
the Camp Jened kids started to come,
they were like this.
Like, so... If you socialized with one,
like, "Oh, hey, you wanna hang out
on Friday night?" "Yes."
But it always meant one of those people,
if not five of those people,
were always gonna be there.
You know, camp kind of traveled with them.
There was like
the traveling Camp Jened show.
How did I first hear about it?
Well, obviously, I heard about it
from Steve, who was out here.
Neil had the computer training program.
I came to California
to go to grad school in Computer Science.
My first week in Berkeley,
I got into a motorized chair
for the first time in my life.
It was very liberating.
They took me
to a Halloween party at CIL.
I remember that day, it was...
Oh, my God!
They were all drunk
and carrying on.
And these people, all these cripples,
were dressed in costumes.
I don't know. I always felt
you had to kinda hide yourself.
You didn't want to draw attention.
And there they were, like, all proud.
It really struck me.
Like this is... This is different.
This is really different.
Next we have
Steven Hofmann, 28.
He's a transvestite by trade.
He likes to work with handicapped children
and other animals.
His ambition is to be a headless amoeba
with a lot of large,
thickly-endowed boyfriends.
How'd you do? I...
See you've met my faithful handyman
He's just a little brought down
Because when you knocked...
If you're a handicapped person,
and you happen to have
a passive nature about you,
you... you're really screwed.
Don't get strung out by the way I look
Don't judge a book by its cover
I'm not much of a man
By the light of day
But by night I'm one hell of a lover
I'm just a sweet transvestite
From Transsexual, Transylvania
Good evening, Judy.
Good to see you again.
How has the situation changed since 1973?
Are you still as upset and angry
as you were then?
I think that
what I've tried to do in part,
is to turn some of that anger around
and put it into, um, positive action.
And outside the fact that legislation
has been passed,
there's been very little
actual enforcement.
Federal law prohibits
discrimination against
handicapped persons.
An organization of the handicapped
claims that law has been ignored.
Today there were demonstrations
at 11 regional offices
of the Department of Health, Education
and Welfare across the nation.
Carter had been elected.
They had said that the regulations
would be adopted,
but when Secretary Califano
became head of Health, Education
and Welfare, he began to do a review.
Handicapped citizens demonstrated
at Health, Education and Welfare today.
They accuse Secretary Califano
of weakening and delaying regulations
to implement the 1973 law to protect
the rights of the handicapped.
We have maintained this position
for almost three years now,
but, apparently, when Mr. Califano
became secretary,
he said, "This is a whole new ball game."
To us, it is not.
We're still in the same game.
504! 504! 504!
I have reviewed those regulations.
There are some difficult questions.
The last administration
took two and a half years
and decided not to move.
I've had two and a half months.
Why can't you move now?
What are you waiting for?
Because I wanna make sure
I understand them...
- No! It's one law!
- I will do the...
- Boo!
- Not in May, now!
What we were hearing
is that lobbyists were coming in,
wanting to make changes
in the regulations.
Schools and universities,
and even hospitals,
didn't want to have to spend the money
to make their buildings accessible.
So, we believed that there was,
like, an imperative.
That we had to act quickly.
We were told, today, you heard it here,
that because of their failures,
we are not to have...
our civil rights.
Sign or resign! Sign or resign!
Some of the protesters vowed
to stay outside of Califano's office
until he signs the regulations.
This coalition
is a part of a national movement
and we're going to stick together and
continue to fight for our civil rights.
I didn't even know
there was a national movement.
And I didn't know what a 504 was.
I was a girl from Texas.
When I was 22, just right out of college,
and I was on my way home one day
and a truck ran me off the road
and so I became a paraplegic.
I had all the assumptions and prejudices
that people have about people
with disabilities and about disabilities,
and suddenly I was one.
I'd never been around
so many people with disabilities
and so many different
kinds of disabilities, all in one place
and all chanting about rights.
I'd never really thought about it
as applying to me.
And I called Ms. Magazine,
and they gave me an assignment.
So I went back there with my camera.
We people who
are here in the Bay must stay together.
We are the strongest political force
in this country.
We are young, we are sensitive,
and we are intelligent.
Let's stay together.
I was asked
to go to the demonstration by my sister.
And I said, "Okay. I'll give it a shot."
And then all of a sudden, someone said,
"Well, let's go in the building. You know,
what are we gonna do, stand outside?"
So I headed toward the building.
The speeches were over
and I followed this group of people
into the building.
There must have been 300 people
and they went up to the fourth floor
and they went into the office
of the regional director.
Now, what's he gonna do
with all these people in wheelchairs?
504! 504! 504!
We are not asking
anything unreasonable.
We are asking you to request
a telephone call
to talk to Joseph Califano.
Mr. Lebossi, the general counsel for HEW,
has been designated as the person
that I should discuss these matters with,
and if you...
The more I sat in this room
and got these absolute non-answers,
the angrier I got,
and that's when people started
really feeling like we couldn't leave,
because no one knew
what we were talking about,
but we knew that they were
trying to rescind the regulations.
We shall not be moved
Five or six o'clock came
and nobody was leavin'.
So, I figured, "Okay, we're gonna have to
spend the night."
Kitty and I and a few others,
we just kind of took a vote
and said,
"How many people wanna stay overnight?"
And that's how it started.
504! 504! 504!
Judy said, "Bring a toothbrush."
And I was like, "Okay."
I said, "Well, Judy,
I didn't come prepared."
She said, "You gotta stay here, Ron.
You gotta stay here."
Solidarity forever
Solidarity forever
The truth goes marching on
This is for tonight. Okay?
How many people in the room
cannot sleep on the floor?
Bay Area
was the most well-organized.
We had the expertise to not only
have demonstrations but to sustain them.
I, I, I
I am somebody
The sit-in at San Francisco's
HEW headquarters
now is in its third day.
Hot water has been turned off
on the fourth floor,
where the occupation army of cripples
has taken over.
The FBI cut off the phones.
They said we couldn't
have any communication.
So, we're like, "Okay, what do we do?"
And the deaf people went...
"We know what to do."
Someone would sign out the window.
That's how we communicated back and forth
to the people outside the building.
Uh, one fellow, who's right behind me
and asleep right now,
built us a refrigerator.
He attached some plastic
to an air conditioner
and built it out of cardboard
and stuff that was around.
So, we've been able to keep
a lot of stuff cold.
There were just so many people
trying to figure out
how to eat, how to wash.
"Where are we gonna get food?
Where are we gonna get blankets?"
Brad Lomax was the one who had the idea
to call the Black Panthers.
Brad could hardly speak,
but he could gesture
and he got his point across.
The Panthers would bring
a hot meal for dinner
and then they would leave food
for breakfast and lunch.
For nothing. No money, no nothing.
I ended up, you know, after the meeting
I said to this guy, "I don't get it.
You're the Black Panther Party
and you don't have a ton of resources."
You know, they had a food kitchen
in Oakland.
"Why are you choosing to feed us?"
He said to me, you know,
"You are trying to make the world
a better place
and that's what we are about.
We are about making the world
a better place for everybody.
So, if you're gonna go to the trouble
to stay here and sleep on this floor,
we're gonna make sure you get fed."
You know, that's how we survived.
We have a cafeteria.
We have a conference room.
We have beds all over the place,
mattresses, food.
It's incredible.
Our support was much broader
than just within the disability community.
Union members
and other civil rights organizations.
We had relationships
with local government.
The mayor was clearly in support.
One of the secretaries in Sacramento
sent down mattresses.
Glide Memorial Church,
which was run by a progressive minister.
We are a people who believe in liberation!
It was the right place,
the right time.
One of the women who ran
the big lesbian bar in the East Bay
came and said, "What do you guys need?"
And we said,
"We're so tired of being dirty."
And, so, her partner was a nurse
and they went out and bought a gallon
of shampoo and a gallon of cream rinse.
And, one night, just showed up.
And for three hours, anybody that wanted
their hair washed got their hair washed.
Oh, my lord. It feels good.
Yay for gay children
And teenagers!
We shall not be moved
You can't imagine
what the 504 sit-in was like.
It was camp.
Everything we learned at crip camp
was what we did there.
So many people from Camp Jened,
campers, counselors,
disabled, non-disabled
found their way into the building.
We shall have our rights
We shall have our
We shall have our rights right now, is to read off the list
of the names of people
who are going to be speaking tomorrow.
There were many different
committees that were working on media
and food and medical issues
and different things like that.
...the regulations that we agreed to
at the January 21st meeting,
and he is trying to obscure that...
Judy made sure everybody
gets a chance to speak.
...the hunger strike.
Anyone here who wants to...
We could not begin a meeting
until there was a sign interpreter there.
The meetings would go
until three o'clock in the morning.
People have to be engaged
and feeling like they made a difference.
Otherwise, people weren't gonna stay there
all that time.
Ain't gonna let nobody
Turn me around
Turn me around
- I said
- Turn me around
Lemme hear you
It is evolving into
a coalition.
The more we talk, the more we discuss,
the more we change and regroup,
and the more we learn about our own
handicap inside of our own coalition.
Learning sign language, learning Braille,
learning about hidden disabilities
like epilepsy, arthritis,
and learning
about all of our disabilities,
we will become a tighter and firmer group.
The demonstration here
is now in its fourth day.
It is by far the largest
and longest protest
ever organized by disabled people
in this area.
But the problem is still the same
as it was on Tuesday.
Trying to get the attention of Washington.
I'm amazed at how many people stayed.
And what these people had to endure.
Not having a back-up ventilator.
Not having your usual
personal care attendant.
Not having access to catheters.
It's hard enough for me
to take care of my body.
Here we're talking about quadriplegics
who can't turn themselves
during the middle of the night
to prevent body sores.
And to be sleeping on the floor?
I mean, that's a recipe for disaster.
It's like the world always wants us dead.
Disabled people know that
every day of our lives.
The world doesn't want us around
and wants us dead.
We live with that reality,
so there's always gonna be, uh,
"Am I gonna survive? Am I gonna push back?
Am I gonna fight to be here?"
That's always true.
So, if you wanna call that anger,
I call it kind of drive.
You know, you have to be willing to thrive
or you're not gonna make it.
I can work.
My mind functions, my hands function.
Many of us can work.
That's all we're saying.
Remove the architectural barriers.
For a number of days,
a number of us went on a hunger strike.
We were drinking, like,
two or three glasses of liquid a day.
I know the pressure on Judy
had to be very harsh.
It's a lot of responsibility,
and it was Judy who was saying often,
one individual at a time,
"Can you stay?
Can you stay just one more day?
Can you stay one more day?"
And that's how they did it, day by day.
This building's been
occupied for 11 days
by a small army of the handicapped.
Support outside has increased each day.
The sounds of that support
carry inside
to the offices of the Department
of Health, Education and Welfare.
I was at Channel 7,
which was on Golden Gate Avenue
just around the corner
from the Federal Building.
The local media damn near ignored
the entire event,
and I was virtually
the only one covering it the entire time.
Evan White essentially
embedded with us.
He did footage of us
from beginning to end.
I had the immense privilege
of being allowed to sit in
during the nightly sessions of strategy.
I was in heaven on that kind of story.
I just...
I like people who make trouble.
We were trying to push the agenda forward,
and so one of the thoughts was,
"Let's get Congress to come
to the building
and actually have congressional hearings
in the building."
'Cause we couldn't leave.
The handicapped demand
that section 504
of the Civil Rights Act be signed.
Today their demand for action is heard
by two congressmen,
Phillip Burton and George Miller.
My statement is one of militancy.
My statement is one of
support from disabled individuals
from around the country.
This is the beginning
of a civil rights movement
and we are proud that you are here to
help us launch this civil rights movement,
which is so long overdue.
Califano, the Director of HEW,
sent this poor man named Eidenberg
to represent him at this ad hoc hearing
held by Congressmen Miller and Burton.
Right now, a searching analysis
is going on in Washington
with all deliberate speed,
tackling such diverse questions as:
Should drug addicts and alcoholics
be covered?
To what extent would every school
and hospital in this country
be required to remodel?
And he had come in
with 20-something changes,
including instituting the shameful
doctrine of separate but equal.
A school district was allowed to
designate one school...
as the school
that children with disabilities
and students with disabilities
could go to.
Well, what's that?
That's separate but equal.
We knew it was Califano's
little dog and pony show.
He sends this poor guy in
to read these words,
because he's gonna put us
back in our place.
And then, he left the room.
And Congressman Burton said,
"Oh, no, no, no."
Mr. Eidenberg had locked himself
into an office,
and Burton kicked at the door
and finally Eidenberg came out.
And Burton dragged Eidenberg
back into the room.
Made him sit at the front table
facing everybody in the audience,
so he could listen to our testimony.
Somebody's gonna have to
pour concrete.
Somebody's gonna have to
knock down some walls,
and somebody's gonna have to make
school teachers and classrooms available.
But that is a price that we have said that
we've been willing to pay for 200 years,
to make people accessible
to the mainstream.
Whether there was
a Section 504,
there was
a Brown versus Board of Education...
the... the harassment...
the, um, lack of equity that has been
provided for disabled individuals,
and that now is even being discussed
by the administration,
is so intolerable
that I can't quite put it into words.
I can tell you that every time
you raise issues of separate but equal,
the outrage of disabled individuals
across this country...
is going to continue,
it is going to be ignited.
There will be more
takeovers of buildings...
until finally maybe you begin
to understand our position.
We will no longer allow the government
to opp... oppress disabled individuals.
We want the law enforced.
We want no more segregation.
We will accept no more
discussion of segregation.
And I would appreciate it if you would
stop shaking your head in agreement
when I don't think you understand
what we are talking about.
There are moments...
like, where history shifts.
Judy's interaction with that man
is the moment when things shifted
for so many people.
What was Califano
thinking with this?
Well, he was thinking
he didn't have to pay attention to us.
That was instrumental
in making the leaders decide,
"We've gotta go to D.C.
We've gotta go get in his face."
Today, a delegation of 25
left San Francisco,
heading for the nation's capital
where they hope to present their demands
directly to the President.
We are hopeful
that the President will see us.
We have gotten a lot of support
from organizations within the community
who are paying our way
to go to Washington.
And we are really hopeful
that we will come back
with success and the regulations signed
as we want them.
At the San Francisco Airport,
leaving on this journey of determination,
Evan White, Channel 7 News Scene.
I thought it was important
to let them know right off the plane
we were not playing.
So, I said,
"Well, what are we gonna do now?"
They says,
"Well, we could sleep until tomorrow."
I says, "Oh, no, we're not.
We're gonna go out there
and we're gonna sit in front
of Califano's house
and we're gonna let him know
that this is 504 and we're here."
There was no
accessible transportation at the time,
so the machinist union very ingeniously
rented a U-Haul truck,
plastered their sign on the side of it,
and that's how we got around in D.C.
And we would sit in darkness
as we traveled around,
and we wouldn't know
where we were until we got there,
and they opened up the back,
and we could see out again.
We went straight to Califano's house
and held a candlelight vigil
outside of it.
The cops came immediately,
police cars all around,
but they saw a bunch of people
in wheelchairs and on crutches
and they didn't wanna fuck with them.
So they didn't. They just parked
across the way and watched, all night.
That morning, when the sun was up,
Judy and Evan White and his cameramen
were knocking on Califano's door.
And he never came out.
And somebody said
he took off out the back door.
The First Family used the side door today
to leave Washington's
First Baptist Church.
The Carters avoided
about 20 handicapped persons
demonstrating across the street
from the door the President normally uses.
In Washington today,
more than 100 people marched
in front of the White House.
But it doesn't look as if Carter will see
the demonstrators personally,
even though they've traveled there
from San Francisco for that very purpose.
When the group of 22 left,
there's still, like,
a ton of us in San Francisco.
You know, then the FBI
really ratcheted it up.
There was, like, 3:00 a.m. fire alarms
and these bomb scares.
And our only job...
This was, like... You know Judy.
Our only job was, like,
"You don't leave until I call you."
"Yes. We won't leave until you call us."
We were more scared
of disappointing Judy Heumann
than we ever were of the FBI
or the police department arresting us.
People in D.C. were very stressed.
It should have been a big finale,
a big climax.
It should have made something happen,
shook something loose, and it didn't.
We didn't know what was gonna happen.
Three times that week
we went 36 hours without sleep.
The leaders just held strong and said,
"How can you give up?
It has to be done, and if not now, when?"
Does anyone know
where Dennis' cane is?
Does anybody know
where Dennis' cane is?
No smoking inside.
All right, we gotta go,
'cause we're not gonna...
Not supposed to
sit on the guitar.
There's room
on the floor here for somebody.
Judy, sing a song.
Ellen, is Bob Perkins up there?
I think Nicky went for it.
Ask him if he wants
to ride in here with us.
That saved a wretch
Like me
- Wait a second.
- I don't like that one.
I'm sure
you've been noticing it...
I once was lost
But now I'm found
Was blind
But now I see
One, two, three, four!
We're gonna get the 504!
One, two, three, four!
We're gonna get the 504!
I know this may be
against protocol, sir...
- It is.
- But I've come 3,000 miles.
Can I ask why you did not meet
with the demonstrators this week?
Well, there's an illegal demonstration
going on in San Francisco.
And I just, uh, don't think
it's appropriate to do that.
I understand you agreed to meet with them
and canceled that. Is that true?
Thank you.
He said he never made such an agreement,
this being an illegal contingent
of an illegal sit-in.
Evan White was ready to send
all his materials back to San Francisco,
to Channel 7,
and there was a technician strike.
ABC stations all over the country
were not getting very much news,
so the guys at ABC, the strike-breakers,
put it to every ABC station
in the country.
Evan White in Washington, D.C.
One, two, three, four!
We're gonna get the 504!
Well, they started getting
a little blowback.
People like Joe Califano
didn't give a shit if it was on
in San Francisco,
but it's everywhere.
- Thank you.
- Yep.
Watch your shadow.
As it happened,
without any fanfare,
without letting the press know,
or we didn't even know,
Califano suddenly signed the regulations
the way we wanted 'em.
I think that this... this calls
for a revolution of attitudes
and thinking and activities
on behalf of
millions of American citizens.
When it was over,
Dusty Irvine shared bread
with her friends.
She had been on a hunger strike.
This was the first food
she had eaten in 23 days.
In Washington, spokesmen
for the handicapped were pleased.
The Congress, the press,
the American public
has seen that we have stamina,
strength, intelligence, um,
as anyone else does.
That disabled individuals,
because they're disabled,
are not, by definition, sick.
The new laws say
every handicapped child in the country
has a right to be educated
in public schools,
something the handicapped
have been waiting for for a long time.
It should have been implemented
20 years ago.
Are you happy though,
or apprehensive or what?
Uh, I am very happy. Yes.
This shows that the country is waking up.
Finally, after all the pressure
and after all the agonizing,
and after the humiliating treatment...
People were treated in Washington, D.C.
and in San Francisco.
We literally believed
we could beat the US government.
Not only did we believe it...
but we fucking did it.
You know?
I mean, we did it, and it's like...
And we did it together.
And what the 504 sit-in did
is it took all these people,
deaf people
and people with intellectual disabilities
and learning disabilities
and blind people...
I mean, there was
this really wide range of people.
And we were all going,
"Well, I never heard that story before,
but I believe you
that that's your experience
of being locked up in a mental ward.
I believe you that that's your experience
in special ed. I believe you."
We were witnessing each other's truths.
We were giving each other, like,
"I see you, and I believe you."
I didn't have a lot of self-esteem
when I became disabled,
so you can see why...
when 504 told me I had value...
it hit home.
I felt very, very proud
to be part of this community.
Very proud.
We won! We won!
We showed strength and courage
and power and commitment!
That we the shut-ins or the shut-outs,
we the hidden,
supposedly the frail and the weak,
that we could wage a struggle
at the highest level of government
and win!
A year after the 504 sit-in,
I graduated college.
I finally got to join
my Camp Jened friends up in Berkeley.
I had gotten my dream job
as the resident sound designer
at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre.
But the first two years I worked there,
there was no wheelchair access
to the sound booth.
There were these outdoor steps
I had to climb.
By the end of winter, there were, like,
mushrooms growing out of the carpet.
But because of the regulations
being signed,
the physical world around me
began to become more accessible.
- Hi, Judy.
- Hi, how are you?
Funding from Section 504
has led to sweeping changes
in transportation, health care, education
and job opportunities.
Universities must now make their buildings
and facilities accessible to the disabled
and provide interpreters and readers
for the deaf and the blind.
All housing projects and public buildings
using federal money
must be made accessible
to people in wheelchairs.
It's really out in the streets of Berkeley
that you see the results
of the disabled civil rights movement.
Curb ramps designed by wheelchair users
allow travel almost anywhere in the city.
The implications are enormous.
In 1980, Berkeley Rep
opened a new, larger theater.
Because of 504, that new building
had to be accessible.
As the barriers around me
started to disappear,
I realized that this bar
I had set for myself,
that I had to overcome my disability,
it had taken a toll on me.
It was denying a part of who I am.
Ready, sound. Three, four.
I would like to say that, um,
I'm glad to be here tonight, but, um...
- It's all right.
- We're behind you.
It's all right.
You know, on the one hand I'm feeling like
I should say everything is wonderful,
and I don't feel, um,
that's at all what we talked about.
And I'm very tired of being thankful
for accessible toilets.
I... I really am tired
of feeling that way,
when... I basically feel that, um...
if I have to feel thankful
about an accessible bathroom,
when am I ever gonna be equal
in the community?
For decades,
we have piled deficit upon deficit,
mortgaging our future
and our children's future
for the temporary convenience
of the present.
On May the 7th, Congress
was due to vote on budget proposals.
The future for
disabled programs looked bleak.
Not only money,
but the hard-won legislation's at stake.
It wasn't too long ago we made this trek
so we could implement the laws.
And now you're here three years later
trying to say don't repeal them.
It's, uh... It's amazing
how it works in this system.
Disabled protestors
closed down a street
in St. Louis, Missouri, on Sunday.
It was just
a continual struggle
to make sure
that the 504 regulations were enforced.
And on top of that,
504 only covered organizations
that were receiving federal money.
If you do not stop, you will be arrested.
Most public transportation
was not accessible,
employers could still discriminate,
and private businesses
didn't have to do anything at all.
We needed a civil rights law of our own.
It is the latest struggle
for civil rights
and integration into the mainstream
of American life.
For more than 40 million Americans
who are physically or mentally
disabled, a new era is dawning.
A bill nearing passage in Congress
would mandate equal access
for the disabled
to employment, transportation,
and public places.
This legislation is a bill of rights
for the disabled,
and America will be a better
and fairer nation because of it.
- When do we want it?
- Now!
- When do we want it?
- Now!
- What do we want?
- ADA!
- When do we want it?
- Now!
I'm gonna get there.
- Gonna get there!
- Take your time.
ADA now!
I'll take all night if I have to.
ADA now!
All right!
We, as disabled persons,
are here today
to ensure
for the class of disabled Americans,
the ordinary daily life
that non-disabled Americans
too often take for granted:
the right to ride a bus or a train,
the right to any job
for which we are qualified,
the right to enter any theater,
restaurant, or public accommodation.
The passage of this monumental legislation
will make it clear
that our government will no longer allow
the largest minority group
in the United States
to be denied equal opportunity.
To do any less is immoral.
Mr. President.
This morning,
Senator Tom Harkin, whose brother is deaf,
delivered a speech in sign language,
urging passage of this bill.
But in the end, it was the disabled
themselves who made it happen.
Let the shameful wall of exclusion
finally come tumbling down.
God bless you all.
The ADA was
a wonderful achievement.
- Hey, Angel.
- Hey, Neil.
How are you?
Can we have three mochas?
A mocha?
But it was only
a tiny tip of the iceberg.
You can pass a law,
but until you change
society's attitudes,
that law won't mean much.
Oh, to live on Sugar Mountain
With the barkers
And the colored balloons
You can't be 20 on Sugar Mountain
Though you're thinking that
You're leavin' there too soon
You're leavin' there too soon
This whole perimeter...
was where the bunks were.
It's so noisy at the fair
But all your friends are there
Oh, my God.
I don't recognize this at all.
And your mother and your dad
Where is the camp?
Is it all gone?
Though you're thinking that
You're leavin' there too soon
You're leavin' there too soon
Coming back to this place
as if it was hallowed ground.
And you almost kinda wanna say,
just, you know, "Thank you."
I almost wanna get out
of my wheelchair
and kiss the fucking dirt.
Is that Denise?
Denise, Denise?
Oh, wow! Lionel!
You can hear the words she wrote
As you read the hidden note
This was an open field of grass.
And our baseball diamond was here.
Could you have ever imagined
where we would go?
- Go!
- Go!
The Jacobsons
live in Oakland, California.
Neil is a bank vice president.
Denise is a writer.
Give me a kiss?
- How about... About five kisses?
- Oh!
All your life,
did you want to be a daddy?
Yeah. Always.
David is the first person
in my whole life
that doesn't care about my disability.
I'm Daddy. I'm his daddy.
If somebody told you
you'd be living in Oakland
with your wife
and going
wherever the hell you wanted to go?
You could not imagine.
No way.
The freedom
that this camp provided
definitely influenced
the rest of my dad's life.
I mean, him being my dad, I...
He didn't really wanna expose
too much of his rebellious,
kind of punk, hippy attitude
and everything,
but to connect with that side of him
was just really incredible.
If I close my eyes,
I can hear all the campers.
I can hear Larry's voice.
I am very proud of everybody.
There needed to be, like, a moment in time
when a spark started the thing to change,
and that's why the Judy Heumanns
of the world are so important.
Judy, you were a total pain in the ass,
but I loved you anyway.
what is the most important
that has happened to you
within the last 20 years?
The most important thing for me has been
the creation
of the disabled rights movement,
that I feel we can call
an international rights movement.
- Can I give you a hug?
- Yes.
This was...
This was always the best way
for me to hug Nanci.
- I love you.
- I love you, too.
Oh, yeah.
I'm mad because I can't see Jimmy,
and today is our first-week anniversary.
Just like a ship
Mmm, without a sail
Without a sail
Just like a ship
Just like a ship
Mmm-hmm, without a sail
Without a sail
But I'm not worried
Because I know
But I know we can take it
I know
But I know we can take it
I know we can shake it
But I know we can take it
I know we can take it
But I know we can take it
I sailed for pleasure
I sailed for pleasure
But I found pain
But I found pain
I looked for sunshine
- I looked for sunshine
- Yes, I did
But I found rain
But I found rain
And then I looked
For my friends
I looked for my friends
They all walked away
But they walked away
Through all the sorrows
Through all of my sorrows
You can hear me say
You can hear me say
Hey, hey, hey, I know
But I know we can take it
Just to know one thing
But I know
- But I know we can take it
- Sure gonna make it
I know we can shake it
- But I know we can take it
- 'Cause we are proud people
I know we can take it
But I know we can take it
Just like a ship
Without a sail
We did our work today
Just like a ship
Without a sail
We did our work today
Just like a ship
- Without a sail
- Without a sail
Just like a ship
Just like a ship
Lord knows
I don't have a sail