Organizers discuss poverty in NC

August 7, 2012 9:00:00 PM PDT
Seven months after launching its Truth & Hope Tour of Poverty in North Carolina, the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has a message for local leaders.

Organizers of the tour that focused on people who are homeless, out of work or who are without health care, shared what they learned during a news conference Wednesday at the First Baptist Church in downtown Raleigh.

"North Carolina needed to see the faces and hear the grass roots voices of poverty. That's the only way fundamental transformation will ever be possible," President of the NC NAACP Rev. William Barber said.

Video shot by the Truth & Hope Poverty Tour's organizers showed people from across the state who struggle to survive with little or no income.

"In 2010, 1.6 million North Carolinians lived in poverty. That's equivalent to the population of the city of Charlotte," said Bill Wilson with the North Carolina Justice Center.

According to the NAACP, the tour traveled 2,000 miles and met with people in 27 different communities. Five organizations -- including representatives from UNC Chapel Hill, North Carolina Central University and the AARP -- joined forces to investigate the extent of poverty across the state.

Gene Nichol with an anti-poverty center at UNC Chapel Hill said the impoverished live in the shadows of society, no matter if they live in big cities, rural areas or the suburbs.

"Poverty is not a number. It's a barrier to membership and a wound to the soul," Nicol said.

A meeting and summit which seeks to involve people who were interviewed on the tour is scheduled for Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Rocky Mount.

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