Listen Live

The U.S. Census Bureau is expected to announce this Wednesday, September 12, that America’s poverty rate is the worst in 50 years. In light of the bureau’s latest findings, broadcaster Tavis Smiley and Cornel West, professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary, kick off “The Poverty Tour 2.0: A Call to Conscience” in Cleveland, OH.

The co-hosts of the nationally syndicated public radio program Smiley & West, from Public Radio International (PRI), hit the road September 12-15 to host six town hall events that are FREE and open to the public.The Poverty Tour 2.0,” sponsored in part by AARP Foundation and HuffPost Live, will visit the key battleground states of Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Florida. In addition, one town hall event will be held in the state of Delaware. Smiley and West intend to push the moderators of the upcoming presidential debates to ask the candidates about America’s poverty problem, and to urge legislators to support public policy and implement programs that will alleviate poverty.These new Census numbers will underscore what we’ve been saying for a long time – poverty is the new American norm,” said Smiley. “The time is now to force poverty on the agenda; our leaders can’t simply continue to be quiet on this issue.”

The six town halls – which will be broadcast LIVE to radio stations across the country via the Pacifica Network and Native Voice One, and which will also be streamed on HuffPost Live and USTREAM – will feature national and local leaders, activists organizing on the ground, and Americans struggling with poverty, sharing their personal stories and solutions. Audio of all six town halls will be available as podcasts, and highlights will be featured on Smiley & West over the next two weeks.

Confirmed guests include: Peter Edelman, former member of the Clinton administration and co-founder of the Children’s Defense Fund; Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers; Ralph Nader, consumer advocate and former presidential candidate; Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH); Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-OH); Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA); Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH); and Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for president. All presidential and vice presidential candidates have been invited to participate.

“We’re putting the spotlight on our precious fellow citizens who don’t have access to a decent job, decent housing, and decent healthcare,” said West. “We want to hear solutions that can be duplicated and adapted in communities across the country.”

The tour schedule is: 10am-1pm, Wednesday, September 12, Westfield Insurance Studio Theater at Playhouse Square, Cleveland, OH; 5-7pm, Wednesday, September 12, Cuyahoga Community College, Highland Hills, OH; 10am-1pm, Thursday, September 13, T.C. Williams High School, Alexandria, VA; 8-10pm, September 13, Delaware State University, Dover, DE; 10am-1pm, Friday, September 14, Tenth Memorial Baptist Church, Philadelphia, PA; and 12-3pm, Saturday, September 15, Franklin D. Roosevelt Middle School, West Palm Beach, FL.

CLICK HERE to read story

article courtesy of

“The Poverty Tour 2.0″ Hits The Road In Four Battleground States  was originally published on