Benny's World

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

JRE and Tavis

Tavis Smiley is an icon. He is foremost one of the best African-American talk show hosts. He has been the convener of quite a few programs on C-SPAN that involve the discussion of African-American issues with panels drawing from academics, clerics, and politics.

Last night, Tavis had JRE on his show to talk about the problem of poverty. The following are excerpted from the transcript.

Edwards: ...And among all the choices, this was the thing I felt most strongly about. So I have helped start a poverty center, Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We have got some very good people, two terrific women right now who are working for me there. We are working together on this poverty center.

We have brought in scholars from the university campus. We are bringing in some of the best experts in the country to talk about their views on what the causes of poverty are, the root causes, what can be done to eliminate poverty, looking at it in a very practical, 21st century, forward-looking way. And – as I'm sure we are going to talk about, you know, we are doing lots of practical things. We're having summits to bring in some of the great experts in the country.

I'm going have a panel in November of some of the leading journalists whose have written about poverty, columnists and press reporters to talk about why the press has covered poverty the way it has in the past. Has that changed as a result of Katrina? How will it change in the future, what is the likelihood - the impact that will have on the psyche of the American people? But the real issue - I think, is this window of opportunity, post-hurricane Katrina, is open. The American people are paying attention. The question is, will that window stay open, or is it gonna close?

And will it close? Or will we do "the right thing"?

JRE is asking the same questions I wondered about just the other day, which is why hasn't the press been more vigilant in covering the disparties in our country? Many reporters grew up in the 60's...and now it is as though they got gold watches in their pockets...and threw away the cameras.

To watch the program, click here.


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