Public radio and television talk-show host Tavis Smiley will be in Kentucky this month as the keynote speaker at a forum on poverty and the shrinking middle-class.

Smiley is known to most as a journalist and political commentator, but most recently he’s taken on the title of advocate for the poor.

In “The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto”, a new book co-authored with Cornel West, he argues that poverty is the new American norm and that neither political party is paying much attention. The statistics are daunting, as a radio documentary conducted by NPR earlier this year showed just that.

From NPR:

I talked to Smiley about his poverty tour, diversity in the newsroom and the scorching backlash he has faced for his criticism of President Obama.