Tavis Smiley, Cornel West in town Friday

Published: Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 8:50 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 8:50 p.m.

Talk show host Tavis Smiley and author Cornel West will focus on the Occupy movement Friday at a University of Florida event, with West appearing beforehand with the local Occupy group.

Smiley and West are bringing their “Poverty Tour: A Call to Conscience,” an effort to highlight the plight of poor people, to UF's Graham Center for Public Service. The theme of the UF event is whether the Occupy movement is the civil rights movement of our time, a question that the Graham Center also has posted on its new Civil Debate Wall.

The event, starting at 6 p.m. in Pugh Hall, is free and open to the public.

Earlier in the day, West will be speaking at an event co-sponsored by Occupy Gainesville. That event will start at 1 p.m. at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza before a march to the Gainesville federal courthouse. The march is a protest of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in the Citizens United case that overturned limits on political spending by corporations.

The march's co-sponsor, Move to Amend, is pushing for a constitutional amendment establishing that corporations do not have the same rights as human beings.

Smiley is a longtime broadcaster who hosts “Tavis Smiley” on PBS and “The Tavis Smiley Show” from Public Radio International. West has taught at Princeton University and other schools and has written 19 books, including “Race Matters, Democracy Matters” and his new memoir, “Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud.”

Contact Nathan Crabbe at 338-3176 or nathan.crabbe@gvillesun.com.

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