PBS’s Tavis Smiley to Keynote Community Action’s 2012 Poverty Forum

Lexington, KY - The Community Action Council has announced that the organization’s 2012 Poverty Forum will be held Friday, September 28, from 6 to 9 pm at the Lexington Convention Center. The event will be highlighted by a speaker Tavis Smiley of PRI and PBS.

This year will be the fifth for Community Action’s special event which is open to the public. It draws a cross section of residents from the business, education, nonprofit, and other sectors.

Some of the people who come to the Poverty Forum work for hospitals and organizations which deal directly with the issues created by poverty. Other attendees simply want to help and learn more about poverty.

“We expect about 500 to 600 people,” said Cameron Minter, Public Information Specialist for Community Action.

“The Poverty Forum is Community Action Council’s most important event to raise community awareness about the 15% of our citizens, including 28% of our children, who lack the resources to meet even their basic, survival needs, said Jack Burch, Executive Director of the Community Action Council.

Besides making people aware of how many people in our community are dealing with issues that stem from living on incomes that fall below the Federal Poverty Guidelines the event has a more subtle educational aspect. It offers facts to replace erroneous ideas and images.

“We also seek to dispel stereotypes,” Burch explained. “For example: Lexington adults with low-income are more likely to be employed, not receiving public assistance; Whites are the largest racial demographic of persons living with incomes below the Federal Poverty Level.”

The Poverty Forum, while supported by private contributions, is not a fundraiser for the Community Action Council. Burch said that its purpose is informational.

If any revenues remain above the costs of the event the surplus is added to operating funds, so as to serve more people in need. The main sponsors for the Poverty Forum are Columbia Gas of Kentucky and Kentucky Utilities.

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