News Archive

Charity to Justice - Best-Selling Author and Activist Gives Keynote Address

Barbara Ehrenreich's most recent book examines life as working poor

3/18/2005 1:47:55 PM


LYNCHBURG – Barbara Ehrenreich, a political essayist and social critic known for her stirring and often controversial commentary on a diverse range of issues, provided the keynote address for the Dolan Peace and Justice Series on April 1 at 7:30 p.m. in Smith Auditorium. A reception followed.

Ehrenreich kicked off the Ron and MaryJane Dolan Peace and Justice Series, “Moving From Charity to Justice: Addressing Poverty in Our Community.” The series, held March 31-April 2, focused on the theme of poverty and economic injustice, and in particular the issues of hunger, homelessness and job insecurity in our community. R-MWC joined Lynchburg College in sponsoring the event in collaboration with Central Virginia Community College, Liberty University, Sweet Briar College and numerous community organizations.

A dedicated feminist, activist and journalist, Ehrenreich is known for writings in publications such as Time, The Progressive, The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Ms, and Mother Jones. She is the author of more than 12 books, including her most recent, “Nickel and Dimed.”

In 1998, Barbara’s editor challenged her to write a piece on surviving on minimum wage. So began a yearlong journey which forced Barbara to leave her comfortable surroundings and take the cheapest lodgings she could afford while working at whatever jobs would hire an inexperienced homemaker returning to the workforce.

She crossed the country, working as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing aide and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. From Florida, to Maine to Minnesota, she found the same conditions and the same struggles.

The bestselling result was a poignant and rare account of the life of the working poor. For Barbara, the book was a chance to jumpstart action on what she sees as a “state of emergency” here at home: the poverty that affects millions of low-wage American workers.

With more than 800,000 copies sold, literary critics have compared her work to such classics as Jack London’s The People of the Abyss and George Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier.

Dolan Series Schedule of Events

Thursday, March 31, 7:30 p.m.

Debate, Resolved: That the Government Is Responsible for Solving the Problem of Poverty presented by the Liberty University Debate Team, DeMoss Hall 1113-1114, LibertyUniversity

Friday, April 1, 5:30 p.m.

Community Dinner (limited seating), Cafeteria (College Grille), Central Virginia Community College

Friday, April 1, 7:30 p.m.

Keynote Address, featuring Dr. Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, Smith Auditorium, Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (reception following)

Saturday, April 2, 9 a.m.

Interfaith Celebration of Justice, Snidow Chapel, LynchburgCollege

Saturday, April 2, 10 a.m. — 3 p.m.

Open Space Forum, with guest moderator John Engle, Beyond Borders, an organization working for justice and peace by fostering transformative learning within and across cultural and economic borders, Memorial Ballroom, Lynchburg College (no registration or fee required, lunch included)

For additional information, call 434/544-8348 or 434/ 947-8543 or visit

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CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations