City of Clarksville leaders take on AleX’s Challenge: “Spend a Day in My Wheels”
CLARKSVILLE, TN - Alex Johnson is on a mission to change the way communities approach accessibility for disabled citizens. On Oct. 4, that mission brought him to Clarksville, TN, where he challenged local leaders to spend a day in his wheels.
Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts, along with nine city employees and department heads, spent a portion of their work day in wheelchairs in order to experience some of the challenges faced by disabled people in our city.
A day of discovery
Participants spent four hours in wheelchairs, attempting everyday tasks such as going to lunch, finding a parking spot, using the public restrooms and even just taking a trip up the street.
Afterwards, they regrouped at One Public Square to discuss what they’d learned, and how those experiences can help them better serve Clarksville’s disabled community.
“I learned some perspective for sure,” said Building & Codes director David Smith. “I think this should be a requirement for everyone in the building industry. They should have to try and navigate in a wheelchair for a time and learn what folks go through.
“I’ll be glad to see where this goes in the future”
When asked how Clarksville performed in meeting his challenge, Alex said he believed participants left having learned a valuable lesson.
“I think that everybody did well. I think that a lot was learned from it,” Alex said after the challenge. “I’ll be glad to see where this goes in the future”
“I think it’s going to change our perspective forever, not just following the letter of the law, but in fact exceeding the letter of the law,” added Pitts. “Also changing our perspective for those who are in wheelchairs and need us to pay attention to what our environment looks like.
The Permobil Foundation
Chairs for Alex’s Challenge were provided by the Permobil Foundation, a nonprofit division of Permobil. According to Alex, his seat elevator, which is not covered by insurance, was provided by the Permobil Foundation.
“They raise money so that people can have assistive technology,” he said. “This is truly a blessing.”
To follow Team Alex as they take the “Spend A Day in My Wheels” challenge to other cities, follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
To learn more about the Permobil Foundation, or to support their work, visit them at their website.