October2011.org Endorses Cornel West-Tavis Smiley Poverty Tour

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The October2011.org Movement has endorsed the 15 city poverty tour of Cornel West and Tavis Smiley.  The tour, The Poverty Tour: A Call to Conscience will go from August 6th to August 12th. It seeks to highlight the staggering problem of poverty in America – an issue that affects people of all races.

There has been a dramatic increase in people being hungry in the United States since 2008 as can be seen by the increase in dependency on food stamps.

  • According to the Department of Agriculture, 44.2 million Americans rely on food stamps, one in seven Americans.  
  • According to the Census in 2008 (the  most recent year statistics are available), 17 million households or 14.6 percent of households, were food insecure, the highest number ever recorded in the United States.
  • This means 39.8 million people were in poverty in the United States in 2008 and 15.4 million of us live in extreme poverty.

The political and economic system in the United States breeds poverty because of budget priorities favoring war, tax breaks for the wealthy and corporate welfare; while job creation, education and alleviation of poverty take distant back seats.   Even in the best economic times millions of Americans are unemployed. Unemployment is built into a system that seeks to keep wages low and low-wage workers desperate to have any job.

Workers making the minimum wage will live in poverty because the minimum wage is too low to live on. The working poor are the largest group of new hungry people in the United States. Low income creates numerous problems including poor housing, lack of food, adverse health conditions and inability to address needs of one’s children.  The current economic crisis is not only failing to reduce unemployment but is creating low-wage jobs that are insufficient to meet the needs of working people and their families.

Dr. West has signed on to October2011.org.  In addition, the Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign, which is building a movement that unites the poor across color lines, has also signed on. We appreciate the support of Prof. West and the Poor People Economic Human Rights Campaign as one of the many reasons we are challenging corporatism and militarism in the United States is so that resources can be put toward ending the permanent underclass, ending poverty and creating an economy where everyone benefits from economic growth, not just the top 1%.  We seek for the United States to live-up to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the international standard for Human Rights which expresses the rights due every human being – including food, housing, communication and living wage jobs.

For information on the Poverty Tour visit http://www.smileyandwest.com.