Access Press Honors MN UCEDD Staffer Cliff Poetz Organization: Institute on Community Integration (MN UCEDD)

September 30, 2016

Access Press Honors MN UCEDD Staffer Cliff Poetz Access Press, Minnesota's disability newspaper, has named Cliff Poetz as the Charlie Smith Award recipient for 2016. Poetz, a community liaison at the Institute on Community Integration (MN UCEDD) Research and Training Center on Community Living, will be the guest of honor at the annual banquet on November 4, when the award will be presented. "I'm humbled and grateful," says Poetz, who knew Smith (see below).

Poetz is the second ICI staff member to receive this award; John Smith (no relation) was the recipient in 2006. A tireless self-advocate and disability rights organizer since the 1970s, Poetz serves on many boards and committees, and advocates with public officials at all levels. "My biggest accomplishment has been bringing other self-advocates to the state capitol; our presence has changed legislators' minds," Poetz says. But he does not want them to stop there. "There is a need for community engagement, like bringing legislators out to group homes during the summer when they have time to really listen and aren't under the pressure of budget negotiations," he adds. To learn more about Poetz's personal story in his own words, read his 2014 "Impact" magazine interview ( and view video clips of Poetz talking about the Americans with Disabilities Act on ICI's Self-Advocacy Online website
( The Charlie Smith Award is named in honor of the late Charlie Smith, founding editor of Access Press. This annual awards ceremony has been held since 2003, offering an opportunity to bring many individuals and organizations together celebrate accomplishments within Minnesota's disability community, as well as an opportunity to discuss the community's future goals and needs.