West, Smiley seek conversation

Professor Cornel West and media personality Tavis Smiley spoke to a crowd gathered at Clowes Memorial Hall last Friday as they lectured on their recently published book, “The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto.”
Smiley, a native of Kokomo, Ind., and an Indiana University alumnus, is a host for the national talk show, The Tavis Smiley Show.
West, a California native and Harvard alumnus, is known for his work regarding class, race and gender. West and Smiley host a weekly program in which they discuss said issues among others.
The event was part of a tour to promote their new book, which campaigns for a new socioeconomic system to reduce poverty and restore true democracy.
“You can either have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, or you can have democracy,” said Smiley, author of 16 books and four New York Times bestsellers. “We cannot sustain a democracy in the current situation.”
“We saw Butler University as a great institution with an active student body,” Smiley said. “We are trying to engage students with a conversation on the tour.”
President Jim Danko said the lecture is a testament to Butler being a national campus that strives for diversity education.
“Having people with the stature of Cornel West and Tavis Smiley is unbelievable,” Danko said. “The timing is so appropriate as well with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day because it shows our dedication to diversifying our university.”
Freshman Rachel Lanagan said she was excited for the occasion because of what West and Smiley stand for.
“You don’t really see this type of people coming here who represent not just the minorities but everyone,” Lanagan said.
Smiley said statistics do not show he is on the winning side in his battle for fair democracy, but he said poverty and social justice are an uphill battle.
“It’s the most difficult thing in the world we live in to stay on fire for justice,” Smiley said, “but I have decided to live a life of not looking away from America’s issues.”


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One Comment;

  1. Milt Farrow said:

    Dear Professor west
    Right on, however with a zillion dollar education -if the jobs have been outsourced we are dead in the water-“free Trade” isn’t free and it isn’t trade, it’s mercantile capitalism at it’s worst
    Total monopoly-Let not the big banks fail” everyone esle can drop dead!- There is the simple equation sir>
    Milt Farrow