SmileyBooks Announces New Release by Tavis Smiley and Cornel West "The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto"

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Thought-provoking and inspiring new book seeks an end to poverty 10-City Book Tour Kicks Off Sunday, April 15, in Los Angeles

The Rich and the Rest of Us

“What happened to the old poor now threatens the new poor,” says Tavis Smiley. “It is true ‘where there is no hope for the future, there is no power in the present.’”

With 150 million (1 out of every 2) Americans now classified as poor, new poor, or near poor—chances are the person to your right or your left at the checkout counter is seesawing near the poverty line. As the nation still hemorrhages from the Great Recession and politicians demonize the poor, New York Times bestselling authors and social justice advocates, Tavis Smiley and Cornel West, take aim at the “P” word—poverty. In THE RICH AND THE REST OF US: A Poverty Manifesto (SmileyBooks, April 17, 2012, ISBN: 978-1-4019-4063-8, $12.00, Paperback), they challenge us to change how we think, talk, and act in the face of gross income inequality.

Smiley and West will kick off the 10-city THE RICH AND THE REST OF US Tour on April 15 in Los Angeles, traveling across the country to libraries, churches, non-profits and corporations, colleges and universities to discuss why now is the time to make poverty a priority in America.

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.” As the middle class disappears and government safety nets are mercilessly shredded, Smiley and West provide a rationale and 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,” says Tavis Smiley. “It is true ‘where there is no hope for the future, there is no power in the present.’”

Smiley and West advocate for a new socioeconomic system based not on entitlements but rather on a foundation of “fundamental fairness.” They support good public policy that prioritizes and delivers living-wage jobs; support for single mothers; and pragmatic training and employment of low-skilled and unskilled workers so that all Americans will have a chance to lift themselves out of poverty. As the authors contend, “now is the time to transform biased apathy to engaged advocacy.”

THE RICH AND THE REST OF US concludes with a call to action: asking for grassroots support for a White House Conference on the Eradication of Poverty. This conference will create an opportunity for our nation’s leaders to face the needs and realities of the “99 percent” and create viable solutions that impact income inequality; stagnant wages; and the ever-increasing costs of food, housing, transportation, health care, and education.

“When America gets serious about something, we can move proverbial mountains,” says Cornel West. “If we become serious about dedicating ourselves to finding solutions to eradicating poverty, we would surely see a change in 10, 15, or 25 years.”

You can join Tavis Smiley and Cornel West on THE RICH AND THE REST OF US Tour in:

  •     Los Angeles, CA     April 15
  •     Washington, DC     April 17
  •     Baltimore, MD     April 18
  •     New York, NY     April 20
  •     Chicago, IL     April 21
  •     Washington, DC     April 22
  •     Los Angeles, CA     April 23
  •     Seattle, WA     April 24
  •     Orangeburg, SC     April 25
  •     Stony Brook, NY     April 26
  •     Philadelphia, PA     April 27
  •     Oakland, CA     April 28

On Monday, April 16, Google will host a special THE RICH AND THE REST OF US online chat LIVE from Google Headquarters, 12 p.m.–1 p.m. PT. To watch, visit:

For more information about THE RICH AND THE REST OF US: A POVERTY MANIFESTO visit:


Tavis 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 Smiley & West (PRI). In addition to his radio and television work, Smiley has authored 16 books, including The New York Times best-selling memoir What I Know For Sure and the book he edited, the #1 New York Times bestseller, Covenant with Black America. He is also the presenter and creative force behind America I AM: The African American Imprint—an unprecedented and award-winning traveling museum exhibition celebrating the extraordinary impact of African American contributions to our nation and to the world. In 2009, Smiley was named one of TIME’s “100 Most Influential People in the World.”

Educator and philosopher Cornel West is the Class of 1943 University Professor at Princeton University. Known as one of America’s most gifted, provocative, and important democratic intellectuals, he is the author of the contemporary classic Race Matters, which changed the course of America’s dialogue on race and justice; The New York Times bestseller 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 and will return this fall as Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

To arrange an interview with Tavis Smiley and/or Cornel West, please contact:
Leshelle V. Sargent, (646) 484-4963.

By Tavis Smiley and Cornel West
Publication date: April 17, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1-4019-4063-8
5⅜" x 8⅜" inches
222 pages $12.00

SmileyBooks, April 17, 2012

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Leshelle Sargent
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