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Tavis Smiley Calls For White House Conference On The Eradication Of Poverty In America

This January, Smiley and his All-Star Panel discuss a 'Vision for a New America'

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As Congress convenes to determine the fate of the 50 million Americans living in poverty and a shattered middle class stalled in a jobless recovery, broadcaster Tavis Smiley is calling on everyday people from coast to coast to urge President Barack Obama to convene a White House Conference on the Eradication of Poverty in America

Smiley will moderate a nationally televised discussion, "Vision for a New America: A Future Without Poverty," 6:30 p.m.9 p.m. Thursday, January 17, 2013, at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St. NW, Washington, D.C. Taking place just days before the presidential inauguration, the event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 5 p.m., and advance registration is required at

"If poverty can be made a national priority, together we can create a plan to cut poverty in half in 10 years, and move closer to eradicating it in the richest nation in the world," said Smiley. "This is not a skill problem; this is a will problem."

During the nationally televised LIVE broadcast, panelists will discuss proven solutions on how government officials can contain the wildfire of American poverty. They will challenge the Obama administration within its first 100 days to aggressively address the nation's economic crisis by refusing to abandon those Americans most in need -- the perennially poor and the new poor—the country's former middle class. Additionally, panelists will encourage citizens to make their voices heard by signing an online petition calling for a White House Conference on the Eradication of Poverty in the tradition of past White House conferences held on aging, children and youth, conservation, LGBT rights and civil rights.

Confirmed panelists include: Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund; John D. Graham, dean, Indiana University School of Public & Environmental Affairs and author of America's Poor and the Great Recession; Jonathan Kozol, author of Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-Five Years Among the Poorest Children in America; Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University; and Cornel West, Union Theological Seminary Professor and author. Additional panelists to be announced.

This symposium is broadcast annually LIVE on C-SPAN, and will rebroadcast for three nights on Tavis Smiley on PBS beginning Tuesday, January 22 through Thursday, January 24, 2013. The conversation will continue during The Tavis Smiley Show and Smiley & West, both distributed through Public Radio International (PRI).

"With 1 in 2 Americans living in or near poverty, we must move from denial to game-changing action," said Smiley. "It's time to imagine an America without poverty, and do the requisite work to make the future conform."

About Tavis Smiley Presents

Tavis Smiley Presents produces events and programs dedicated to bringing thought-provoking discussions, engaging town hall meetings, and consumer expos to communities across the country. During the past 11 years, its programs have reached more than 500,000 conference attendees and attracted millions of television viewers nationwide.

Tavis Smiley is the host of Tavis Smiley on PBS, and host of The Tavis Smiley Show from Public Radio International (PRI). Smiley is also co-host of Smiley & West, a weekly news and opinion program featuring provocative commentary and exclusive interviews also distributed by PRI.

SOURCE Tavis Smiley Presents

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