I attended Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West’s Poverty Tour at St. Sabina on Sunday, August 7th. The place was packed! But, I have to wonder if more people were prompted to care about the state of poverty after attending the event. How many of those people are actually going to do something as a result of listening to the statistics, hearing the personal stories, and feeling the compassion and concerns of the speakers.
It was a powerful event to me. Tavis gave some of his time so Minister Louis Farrakhan could speak. So, we had Tavis, Dr. West, Min. Farrakhan and Father Michael Pleger to grace the same stage! Following are a few things that stood out that I think you all should know.
- The new poor is the former middle class. Please know that although race comes into play, it is more of the wealth getting more and the not-so-wealthy getting less.
- The Poverty Tour was started to bring awareness to the poor in the country. It has grown dramatically over the years.
- Tavis said that we want to use the media to introduce America to the poor. How about we bring attention to these people ourselves by talking with people we know personally and sharing their stories on social sites?
- Tavis Smiley says that Congress has the power to declare war. Now, they are declaring war on the power ~aka~ the former middle class.
- The Poverty Tour is not an anti-President Obama. It is an attempt to help the president in the upcoming election because it will be hard to get people who have no jobs or homes to get to the polls.
Minister Louis Farrakhan
- Minister Farrakhan noted that people are poor in spirit, and when this happens, people are poor indeed. Our President is also poor in spirit, and he needs help.
- Closer to home, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has fired 12,000 teachers and hired more police. Thus, his focus is more on policing than educating. Is Chicago indeed on the fast track of the School to Prison pipeline?
Dr. Cornel West
- Dr. West said that the future of America depends on America’s response to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy, which is to love the poor. So far, America is not looking to good.
- He noted that our leaders can’t find money for education, but they found money to fund a war in Libya.
- We have black leaders who love everyone but black people.
Tavis, Dr. West and Min. Farrakhan do want President Obama to stop being afraid to say the word “poor” or “poverty.”
I personally intend to contribute by talking to people who’s lifestyles have changed over the past few years. If you attended the event, did it prompt you to care more? What do you plan to do differently?
Image: Dread Times