What’s Up with this “Poverty Tour”?

If you know me personally, you know there are two Black intellectuals that I absolutely love-so much so I would listen to them recite the alphabet.  Who are those men?  Dr. Cornel West and Dr. Micheal Eric Dyson.  So, imagine my surprise when I found out that Dr. West and Tavis Smiley are going on a 15 city tour of America?  What’s the name of the tour you may ask…well, it’s called “The Poverty Tour: A Call to Conscience”.  It aims to bring awareness to the plight of poor Americans, regardless of race and gender, and to have town halls and discussions. 

Excuse me, but what is talking about the plight of the poor going to accomplish?  West and Smiley have gotten numerous sponsors, but I would think that if you’re going to help those Americans who have been without employment that you will help them find a job.  Or at least help with their mortgage or rent.  Thank God I’m not living in poverty, but if I were, I don’t believe I would want someone to host a townhall about my plight.  If these two men really want to be effective, how about devising a plan to create jobs for these Americans and coming up with ways to help them make a better life for them and their families? 

Anyone can get up and talk a good game, but what are we putting into action?  And these two men are educated and intelligent, so it’s beyond me why they would limit themselves to just going around the country.  Unless they plan on using this as an extended vacation.

Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

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1 Comment

  1. While I don’t disagree that there is a tremendous need to create jobs for the poor – as a specific targeted group, not some hash-house dead-end employment but something that can utilize latent skills in able-bodied poor living in cities – where most of our poverty is centered. Most job creation activities now create jobs not in areas where they live, but where they are seldom accessible for many reasons. But the able-bodied poor are not the only ones living in poverty – a large percentage have other problems – medical conditions, mental conditions and much more; not the druggies that most people think, for that is a much smaller problem than society thinks. And it isn’t because the poor are lazy and irresponsible – that’s just the claptrap garbage that goes along with the so-called Puritan Work Ethic – that is, get off your ass and get a job, you lazy bum. Well, ma’am, that just ain’t the cause and you can take that to the bank.

    Poverty is little understood, even by those in academia who think they have the answer. I came to DC in 1993 as a political activist on poverty issues, bringing an economic development plan that would help able-bodied poor to help themselves. I spent 7 years dedicated to the task, lived in poverty myself so I wouldn’t forget what my goal was, wrote a weekly column on poverty issues in the Metro Herald published in Alexandria (1993 – 1996), had an award winning website – 1995 to 2000, incorporated the nonprofit group, Restore Hope In America in 1993 – received national recognition but had to take a break in 2000. I now have an art gallery in Georgetown that I use for exhibits that have socially responsible goals — I could go on, but check out http://www.poverty01.org – am working on getting back into the game.

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