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The University of Kentucky and Blue Grass Community Foundation (BGCF) are hosting “An Evening with Heather McGhee,” to explore the benefits of creating a more just community.

The event is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Thursday, April 28, in UK’s Gatton Student Center Ballroom. For those unable to attend in person, the event will also be livestreamed. Registration information for the live broadcast will be released prior to the event.

McGhee will discuss her bestselling book, “The Sum of Us," in which she argues that racism has costs for everyone — not just people of color. One of today's most insightful and influential thinkers, McGhee offers a powerful exploration of inequality in the United States. McGhee finds examples from across the country of how racism hurts us all and explains the benefits we gain when people come together across races to accomplish what we simply can’t do on our own.

“Our fates are linked," she says. "It costs us so much to remain divided."

McGhee's talk will be preceded by a short program, featuring Black artists and exciting announcements of how we will put these ideas into action to advance racial equity in our communities, and followed by a curated conversation and Q&A led by Kentucky Educational Television moderator Renee Shaw. 

Leading up to the event, everyone in the greater Lexington community is invited to read “The Sum of Us” and join in this One Book, One Lexington Community Reads movement and regional conversation about the costs of racism. The UK Provost Unit has made 600 e-books available for download for UK employees. Additionally, the Lexington Public Library has procured 250 print and digital copies of the book.

One Book, One Lexington Community Reads “The Sum of Us” is just one of a series of events that will be announced over the course of the year designed to engage the community, deepen knowledge and prompt action on issues of racial equity and anti-Black racism.

These efforts are guided by a collaboration that includes the Lexington Black Prosperity Initiative, the University of Kentucky Office for Institutional Diversity, CivicLex, Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass, the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Lexington Public Library, RADIOLEX, WUKY and Blue Grass Community Foundation, with generous funding support from Walton Family Foundation.

“We’re excited that the One Book, One Lexington Community Reads ‘The Sum of Us’ kicks off what will be a series of engaging and thought-provoking opportunities for our entire community to collectively come together to explore how racial equity can improve the quality of life for everyone,” said Lisa Higgins-Hord, co-chair of the Lexington Black Prosperity Initiative, a community-advised, permanent charitable endowment of BGCF, and assistant vice president for community engagement at UK.

Ahead of the event, 600 e-books from the UK Provost Unit are available for download for UK employees. Download a free copy of “The Sum of Us” here.

The UK Office for Institutional Diversity and the Office of the Provost are proud partners in this community initiative. These offices have provided invaluable support in facilitating this event and making sure our campus community has access to this opportunity.

More information about “An Evening with Heather McGhee” can be found here.

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