Last week, I wrote about “Poverty Tour 2.0,” the latest effort from broadcaster Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West to elevate poverty as a pressing national issue and push a substantive conversation about it into the presidential campaign. The tour visits four battleground states this week, including Virginia, where it arrived yesterday at TC Williams High School in Alexandria, just outside of the nation’s capital.

I had the opportunity to attend the event—a town hall meeting that included not only Smiley and Dr. West but inspiring interviews with iconic figures like Peter Edelman, Dolores Huerta, Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Ralph Nader, and other passionate antipoverty advocates and thinkers.

I also spoke with some of the high school students in attendance about their own experiences dealing with poverty.

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