*Tavis Smiley has been bringing to front the issue of poverty in America for a little while now. And with a special broadcast, he’ll be putting a human face on the staggering statistics behind the issue.

He’ll highlight that nearly 50 million Americans are living in poverty today through “The Poverty Tour: A Call to Conscience.”

The discussion will begin on the popular “The Tavis Smiley Show” from PRI on Friday Oct. 7 and will continue through five episodes on PBS show from Oct. 10-14.

To start the conversation, Smiley will sit down with poverty experts on The Tavis Smiley Show from PRI, airing October 7. The panelists include: Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association (NEA); Emily Allen, vice president of the AARP Foundation; Vicki B. Escarra, president of Feeding America; and Patrick McCarthy, president of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Each night will feature footage from the talk show host’s poverty bus tour in which he stopped at 18 cities around the nation. Real people in dire third world situations reveal their stories and share their struggle.

Featured guests in this TV special series include:

  • Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius who will address how poverty is impacting the health and wellness of American families.
  • Economist and author Jeffrey Sachs who has been at the forefront of economic development, poverty alleviation and enlightened globalization for more than 20 years. His latest book is titled The Price of Civilization.
  • Vicki B. Escarra, president of Feeding America, which is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization that provides food to more than 37 million Americans each year, including 14 million children and 3 million seniors.
  • Jim Wallis, best-selling author, public theologian, speaker and international commentator on ethics and public life. He recently served on the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and currently chairs the Global Agenda Council on Faith for the World Economic Forum.
  • Princeton professor and New York Times best-selling author Cornel West who is considered to be one of America’s leading public intellectuals.

For more information and to listen and watch the shows online, visit www.tavissmileyradio.com and www.pbs.org/tavis.