Poverty Tour

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Poverty Tour Spotlight

  • The Independent's Kirk Ross writes about how his thoughts turn to those he met on the Poverty Tour as he walks through the NC Legislative Building a year later in this story: The GOP sacrifices N.C. citizens - for what?
  • Rev. Dr. William Barber III and Director Gene Nichol recently appeared on the Black Issues Forum on UNC-TV hosted by Deborah Holt Noel to discuss the Poverty Tour.
  • Director Gene Nichol and Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II co-wrote a letter (PDF) to the North Carolina gubernatorial candidates, Pat McCrory and Walter Dalton, asking them to consider the plight of many North Carolinians facing poverty and their proposals for addressing poverty if elected.
  • Rev. William Barber discussed "Putting a Face on Poverty" on WUNC's The State of Things.
  • View the Poverty Tour documentary, "Truth and Hope: The Challenge to Address Poverty in Our Communities."
Graph provided by the NC Justice Center.

Truth and Hope Poverty Tour Summit, August 11, 2012

The Truth and Hope Poverty Tour conveners hosted a Summit on August 11, 2012 in Rocky Mount. The Summit brought together Poverty Tour participants from across the state to bear witness to their experiences and discuss plans for change.

Truth and Hope Poverty Tour in North Carolina

The Truth and Hope Tour of Poverty in North Carolina was organized to put a face on the thousands of families and individuals in the state struggling to get by--to get beyond the statistics and hear stories directly from North Carolinians directly affected by poverty and hardship.

During the Tour, participants met with residents, local officials and service providers to listen to their points of view and experiences, connect policy with real life, and spur frank discussion. The tour consisted of four legs.

Northeast Tour: January 19 and 20 (mapPDF)
Southeast Tour: March 2 and 3 (mapPDF)
Western Tour: April 30 and May 1 (mapPDF)
Triangle Tour: July 20

Participants on the tour--which included members from the organizing partners, foundation leaders, activists and students-- traveled to "Little" Washington, Roper, Elizabeth City, Winton, Scotland Neck, Rocky Mount, Greenville, Goldsboro, Faison, Wilmington, Navassa, Royal Oaks, Red Springs, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Wentworth, Mt. Airy, Salisbury, East Spencer, Hickory, Hendersonville, Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. At every stop, residents told moving, galvanizing, harrowing and touching stories of loss, resilience, struggle and pride.

The poverty tour was a collaboration between the NC NAACP, the NC Justice Center, the Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Change at NC Central University, and the NC AARP.

New Beginning men's shelter, Elizabeth City, NC

For more on the tour and stories told along the way:

Video available from:

More information:

Reflections of a 3L, Jeff Lakin, who participated in two of the legs of the poverty tour and wrote about them in this thought piece (PDF).

Transcript of Rev. Barber's speech (PDF) introducing the tour in Salisbury, NC.

Electricity in Eastern North Carolina

During the Tour, residents in Eastern North Carolina who receive municipal power service have noted the disabling impact of high electricity rates, both personally, on their households and neighborhoods, and also on the economic development potential of their communities. Rates in the 32 localities in Eastern North Carolina who provide municipal power are much higher than rates paid by customers who receive service from one of the state's public utility companies like Duke or Progress. Due largely to debt owed by the towns to the state for their investment in power plants in the late 1970s, the issue of high electric rates is not new, but continues to distress low-income residents who simply cannot afford the inflated bills.

For more information about this issue:

  • Independently Weekly (article on cost of electricity in Eastern NC)
  • WRAL (news story in response to legislative commission recommendations)

NYCSAA Hosts Their Own Poverty Tour

The New York State Community Action Association has just announced their own "Poverty Tour" in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty and "inspired by Gene Nichol, from the University of North Carolina Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity." Professor Nichol spoke to the group at their poverty symposium last year.

The tour will provide "an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the success of Community Action and be guided toward the future by the voices and stories of low income people." NYCSAA's poverty tour will stop in over two dozen communities between April and October across the state of New York.

UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106

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