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Award-winning journalist Tavis Smiley and political activist Dr. Cornel West recently released a new book called The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto. In the book, Smiley and West challenge what they feel are ideas, assumptions and judgements made about people living in poverty in the United States.

During their on-air interview with News 92 FM’s afternoon anchor Carolyn Campbell, they both spoke of the threat poverty has on national security, stability and democracy. During Wednesday’s interview with Campbell, Smiley, who hosts a talk show on PBS, and West, a Princeton professor, spoke of the 150 million U.S. residents who are poor. West and Smiley define poor as living one or two paychecks away from poverty.

Dr. West spoke of the need to invest in the poor so productivity can take precedence. He also spoke of the “imbalance between public and private” when it comes to the nation’s rich and poor. According to Dr. West, it takes a strong voice to alleviate poverty. WATCH VIDEO HERE:

Smiley spoke about poverty in the nation not being a color-coded problem. He cited a lack of discourse as one reason that poverty exists. An advocate and philanthropist, Smiley talked to Campbell about the nation being comprised of “two Americas”. WATCH VIDEO HERE:

The idea for this collaboration between Smiley and West was born last summer during the duo’s 18-city Poverty Tour which made stops all over the nation. The two visited a Native American reservation in Minnesota and traveled to places such as Appalachia and Washington, D.C.

Smiley and West visited Houston Wednesday afternoon to promote the book and scheduled a lecture series for Wednesday evening at the Fountain Of Praise Worship Center in Houston.

The Rich And The Rest Of Us: A Poverty Manifesto

is published by  SmileyBooks. Visit for tour dates and additional information.

Tavis Smiley And Cornel West Challenge America’s Poverty Problem In New Book  was originally published on