CRT advocate helps community 'humbly catch up'

Friday, May 20, 2016

AUSTIN, Texas – NCART has asked its members to vote for Archer Hadley, a college student who was nominated for a 2016 National Philanthropy Day Honors program award for his Wheelchair Challenge.

“It’s not about me getting the credit,” said Hadley, a power wheelchair user. “I just love being a part of it.”

In 2014, Hadley—then a high school senior—helped raise $87,000 to install automatic push button doors at his alma mater, Austin High School. To raise money, students and teachers could challenge each other to spend an entire day in a wheelchair or donate $20 to the cause.

The Wheelchair Challenge was documented by Hadley’s classmates and turned into a short film, which was shown at the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Out of 1,500 submissions, only 15 were honored. The film was also presented at last year’s CRT Conference.

Since then, Hadley has helped four other schools install push button doors and raised $105,000 in total.

“When I see a problem and I think I have a solution to fix it, I’m going to do my best to make that happen,” he said. “That’s my natural tendency.”

And he’s just getting started. Hadley and his friends are organizing a citywide wheelchair challenge this October in Austin. Though the details are still being fleshed out, Hadley says he hopes to take his message of accessibility to different businesses throughout the city.  

“It surprises me how many don’t have push button doors,” he said. “It’s been 25 years since the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the world is still way behind. I’m here to help them humbly catch up.” 

Now a freshman at The      University of Texas at Austin, Hadley is studying government and says he hopes to become a lawmaker one day.