Nearly 50 million Americans live in poverty, which means that more than 16% of our fellow citizens are struggling to survive. For children, that number is 20%–and, worst of all, for African Americans, the figure is nearly 26%. With all the talk of a slow recovery from the deepest recession since the U.S. depression, there doesn’t seem to be much good news for the country’s poor.
It’s against the stark backdrop of these numbers that we broadcast four nights, January 22-25, 2013, of a special conversation on poverty. “Vision for a New America: A Future Without Poverty” examines one of the most important, but often-forgotten issues of our time. Panelists discussed proven solutions on how government officials can contain the wildfire of American poverty.
Explore panelists’ bios below and watch the four broadcasts online for our discussion on ways to aggressively address the economic crisis in the U.S. by refusing to abandon those Americans most in need—the perennially poor and the new poor—the country’s former middle class.
Mariana Chilton, Director, Center for Hunger-Free Communities/associate professor, Drexel University School of Public Health
Dr. Chilton is a nationally recognized leader addressing child hunger in America. She is co-principal investigator of the Children’s HealthWatch national surveillance study and founder of Witnesses to Hunger. Her work spans across a variety of issues that affect low-income families.
Rose Ann DeMoro, Executive director, National Nurses United
DeMoro is executive director of the largest professional and labor organization of registered nurses in the U.S. She’s also one of America’s preeminent advocates for healthcare reform and working people. A champion of the “Robin Hood Tax,” she’s been on Modern Healthcare magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in healthcare for 10 years.
Rep. Marcia L. Fudge, U.S. Congress (D-OH)
In her fourth term in Congress, Rep. Fudge serves on the Agriculture Committee, where she works to end childhood obesity in a generation, stamp out hunger and monitor the safety of the U.S. food supply, and on the Education and the Workforce Committee, advocating for policies to strengthen the education system and promote job creation. Earlier this month, Fudge became chair of Congressional Black Caucus.
Newt Gingrich, Former GOP presidential candidate and Speaker of the House
Before running for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, Dr. Gingrich taught college courses, represented Georgia in Congress for 20 years and was active in public policy debates after leaving office. He’s widely recognized for his commitment to a better system of health for all Americans, has founded policy think tanks and is a best-selling author.
John D. Graham, Dean, Indiana University School of Public & Environmental Affairs
In 2008, when Dr. Graham became dean of one of the largest public policy schools in the U.S., he brought extensive experience in university and government settings. He was previously dean of the Pardee RAND Graduate School and on the faculty of Harvard’s School of Public Health, where he founded and led its Center for Risk Analysis.
Jonathan Kozol, Education advocate-author, Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-Five Years Among the Poorest Children in America
Since giving up the prospect of a secure career in the academic world during the civil rights campaigns of 1964 and 1965, Kozol has devoted nearly his entire life to the challenge of providing equal opportunity within public schools to every child. He’s the most widely read education writer in America.
Jeffrey Sachs, Director, Columbia University’s Earth Institute
Named twice to Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential world leaders, the world-renowned economist is a leading voice for combining economic development with environmental sustainability. Dr. Sachs is a best-selling author and co-founder of Millennium Promise Alliance, a nonprofit aimed at ending extreme global poverty. He previously spent more than 20 years at Harvard.
Cornel West, Union Theological Seminary professor-author
Dr. West is a professor, scholar and best-selling author, who’s written/edited more than 20 books, including the classic text, Race Matters, and The New York Times best seller, Democracy Matters. Outside of academia, he’s been described as an “intellectual provocateur,” with lectures, TV and film appearances and his spoken-word CDs. He’s also taught at Harvard, Yale and Princeton.