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Recently, The H.O.P.E. (Helping Others Pursue Education) Scholarship Initiativeparticipated in a conference call hosted by talk-show host Tavis Smiley, discussing poverty in America. During the question-and-answer portion The H.O.P.E. Scholarship raised the following question:

“What can we do to bridge the gap for minority students?”

Smiley answered, the government has identified 2000 under-performing schools and has done nothing to transform those institutions. “The government has a role in the process of building high quality education”. In absence of government control “We need more emphasis on the work you’re doing; providing scholarships and supporting students…We need your voice, use your outlets to start discussions on the issues that matter to you”. “Education is the long term answer [to overcome poverty].”

I recall an article in The Madison Times where Marian Wright Edelman, the president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, said, “The greatest threat to America’s national security comes from no enemy without, but from our own failure to protect, invest in, and educate all of our children who make up all of our futures in this global economy…”

Smiley, Edelman and The H.O.P.E. Scholarship Initiative are of like minds. The foundation of transforming this country from poverty to prosperity lies in education. In education we find our best selves, life changing innovation, and prosperity. The reality is reducing education budgets is a cut this country will never be able to afford.

We are in a state of record breaking unemployment, foreclosure, bankruptcy rates and drastic cuts in state education budgets.One in five children in the United States lives in poverty. Almost half of these children (9.3 percent) live in extreme poverty. (Census Bureau 2010a p.13).

This country is in a state of poverty. And what are we to do?

H.O.P.E. Scholarship will continue to empower students attending historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) by awarding need-based scholarships. We will continue to serve as a resource by sharing relevant information for students on our blog and other media outlets. And we will continue to encourage you to serve as a hope dealer in your community.

Smiley will be moderating a discussion with 8 of America’s thought leaders on Remaking America: From Poverty to Prosperity. The panel discussion will be held from 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. Thursday, January 12, 2012, at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium. This event is sponsored by WK Kellogg Foundation and the AARP Foundation. The conversation will be broadcast live on C-SPAN and rebroadcast over three nights beginning Jan. 16 on PBS’Tavis Smiley.

Join The H.O.P.E. Scholarship on Twitter (@hopescholarship) as we live tweet from the panel discussion this Thursday using the hashtag #RemakingAmerica.

Let your voice be heard, let your actions be felt. Join the discussion on poverty and commit yourself to fighting and speaking up for the necessary change to remake America.

Live H.O.P.E. Give H.O.P.E.
Teneasha Pierson
Marketing Director
The H.O.P.E. Scholarship