I completely forgot about this until I saw a Tavis Smiley tweet about it this morning: My Whatever post “Being Poor,” which I wrote in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, is excerpted in his and Cornel West’s new book The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto. Which is, as you might expect, a book about poverty here in the United States.
You might ask, what payment did I get for this reprint? The answer: None at all. I am someone who very strongly believes in getting paid for his work, but in the case of this particular essay, it wasn’t written for pay, and when an opportunity for payment comes to me for it, I like to put my money where my mouth is regarding poverty. I requested that in exchange for the right to reprint the essay, that Mr. Smiley (whose people approached me with the request) donate the reprint sum to a charity dealing with poverty. Mr. Smiley (or his people) chose Feeding America, which helps provide food for those who need. That’s an organization whose goals I support, so well done him.
In any event, if you happen to pick up the book, see “Being Poor” and wonder if I know it is there: Yes, I do. It’s nice to see the essay still getting around and being part of the conversation about poverty here in the US.