My Krip Kamp Story, Honoring Ms. Bev Jackson

Tiny - Posted on 25 March 2020

Now that  Jim LeBrecht’s film, Crip Camp is out, I wanted to put my Crip Camp story out that started with a mirror that was named Beverley aka Bev Jackson, a director of United Cerebral Palsy Association and she was the director of Summer camp, Camp Harkness. Oh yeah Jackson like me was Black and disabled, same disability that I had cerebral palsy.
It began when my mom took me to obtain recreational services at the United Cerebral Palsy Association (UCP) in West Hartford, Connecticut .  We both walked up the street from the apartment that my two sisters, I and my mother were living in the mid 1980’s after returning from living with my father in Pontiac, Michigan . That apartment was across the street from the famous WCCC radio station where Howard Stern got his start. The reason why WCCC  was so important to me is that at the time I wanted to be a radio DJ even though I used to stutter. 
I was surprised to see that a Black disabled lady approached us in the waiting room at the UCP center but my mom wasn’t surprised.  It seemed like she knew Beverley aka Bev Jackson. Ms. Jackson took us to her office. I noticed that her cerebral palsy was more severe than mine but I understood every word she said, that CP speech was like mine!  Ms. Jackson talked about UCP sports from wheelchair soccer, to track , to cycling, to Camp Harkness. Eventually I got involved in all of it .  That really strengthened my disability identity.  I went to the Paralympics in Seoul Korea for cycling and other sports. I was the best in wheelchair soccer on the East coast .  
For ten plus years every summer I attended Camp Harkness, first as a camper, then Ms. Jackson hired me as a junior counselor. 
Ms. Jackson took me into her world as director of the UCP center and Camp Harkness. She picked up where my dad left off in teaching me about the ins and outs of running a non-profit and a Summer camp.  Not knowing, at the time, that I would become co-director of the camp and Ms Jackson would retire and return as a camper.  In addition I took her non-profit knowledge to begin my own non-profit in San Francisco in the late nineties for people of color with disabilities. 
Like most youth who grew up in a summer camp, I had my summer love, heartbreak, made long lasting friendships that are still strong today.  However, what stood out for me as a Black disabled pre teen  was Beverley Jackson and the other Black disabled people I met like Sticks who played wheelchair soccer with me. There was also a  teenager, I forgot her name, but we met at Camp Harkness where we had serious conversations about being Black and disabled in the 1980’s.
Till this day most of the times when I’m in Connecticut I try to visit some of my friends from Camp Harkness and I always give thanks to my mom who introduced me to my mirror, who now I call my role model, Ms. Beverley Jackson!
By Leroy F. Moore Jr


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