PLEASE NOTE: The start/end date above is NOT the event date. This event will be held Jan. 22.
JOHNSON CITY – New York Times best-selling authors Tavis Smiley and Cornel West will bring their Poverty Manifesto Lecture Series to the East Tennessee State University campus Tuesday, Jan. 22.
This free public presentation, based upon their 2012 book, The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto, begins at 7 p.m. in the D.P. Culp University Center auditorium. It is co-sponsored by the ETSU Diversity Events Committee, Buctainment, Division of Student Affairs, Office of Equity and Diversity, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Black Affairs Association, Office of Community Service Programs, Progressive Student Alliance and WETS-FM/HD.
In their book, Smiley and West challenge their readers to “change how (they) think, talk, and act in the face of gross income inequality” in a time when “150 million Americans (are) now classified as poor, new poor or near poor.”
“In today’s somersaulting economy, people who have spent their lives ‘doing everything right’ and ‘playing by the rules’ – the former middle class – are now America’s ‘new poor,’” they explain. “As the middle class disappears and government safety nets are mercilessly shredded, (we) provide a rationale and a sense of urgency to help America confront its fears and complacency about poverty and economic inequality.”
“What happened to the old poor now threatens the new poor,” Smiley continues. “It is true that ‘where there is no hope for the future, there is no power in the present.’”
Smiley and West advocate a new socioeconomic system based not on entitlements but on a foundation of “fundamental fairness.” They support public policy that prioritizes and delivers living-wage jobs, support for single mothers, and training and employment of low-skilled and unskilled workers to help them rise out of poverty.
Smiley hosts the late-night television talk show “Tavis Smiley” on PBS and “The Tavis Smiley Show,” distributed by Public Radio International (PRI). He is also co-host of PRI’s “Smiley and West.” In addition to his radio and television work, he has written 16 books, including his New York Times best-selling memoir, What I Know for Sure. He also edited Covenant With Black America, which reached number one on the New York Times best-seller list.
Smiley is the presenter and creative force behind “America I AM: The African American Imprint,” an award-winning traveling museum exhibition celebrating the impact of African American contributions to the United States and the world. In 2009, he was named one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People in the World.”
West, an educator and philosopher, is a professor emeritus at Princeton University and a professor of philosophy and Christian practice at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Known as “one of America’s most gifted, provocative, and important democratic intellectuals,” he is the author of the contemporary classic Race Matters; the New York Times best-seller Democracy Matters; and the memoir Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. He is the author of 17 other texts and the recipient of the American Book Award. West holds more than 20 honorary degrees.
For more information or special assistance for those with disabilities, contact Joy Fulkerson, director of Community Service and Greek Life Programs at ETSU, at (423) 439-8328 or email@example.com. To learn more about Smiley and West and their work, visit www.therichandtherestofus.com.