Self-Advocacy Online Blog

Remembering Cliff Poetz


I first met Cliff at an Arc convention in the early 1990s. He was from the northern part of the country and I was from the south. We got to talking and we found we had a few things in common. He was then leading a People First group in Minnesota and I was president of People First of Oklahoma. We talked about self-advocacy and how we could possibly work together to strengthen the movement. I knew he had been in self-advocacy a long time and I asked him for tips for becoming a leader. After that, I saw him again at a national People First conference in Nashville and we really started bonding. He always found a way to talk to people about his experiences – good stories and bad stories – and about what needed to change. Cliff respected everybody, no matter what their background was. And it seemed like he knew everybody, too – self-advocates and professionals. We didn’t see each other that often so it was like a reunion when we got together at conferences.

I’m sorry to see Cliff gone. His life and spirit will be missed by many of us who knew him shared stories.