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Virtual FAN Event with Heather McGhee and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren on February 16

February 10, 2021  1:15pm CT


FAN Event on January 16, 2021
Heather McGhee and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren
(image from


“The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together,” a conversation between Heather McGhee and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren will be held on Tuesday, February 16, beginning at 7:00pm via Zoom. The event is free and open to the public, suitable for ages 12 and up. Registration is required.


Heather McGhee's specialty is the American economy–and the mystery of why it so often fails the American public. From the financial crisis to rising student debt to collapsing public infrastructure, she found a common root problem: racism. But not just in the most obvious indignities for people of color. Racism has costs for white people, too. It is the common denominator of our most vexing public problems, the core dysfunction of our democracy and constitutive of the spiritual and moral crises that grip us all. But how did this happen? And is there a way out?


Ms. McGhee embarks on a deeply personal journey across the country from Mississippi to California to Maine, tallying what we lose when we buy into the zero-sum paradigm–the idea that progress for some of us must come at the expense of others. Along the way, she meets white people who confide in her about losing their homes, their dreams, and their shots at better jobs to the toxic mix of American racism and greed. This is the story of how public goods in this country–from parks and pools to functioning schools–have become private luxuries; of how unions collapsed, wages stagnated, and inequality increased; and of how this country, unique among the world’s advanced economies, has thwarted universal healthcare.


But in unlikely places of worship and work, Ms. McGhee finds proof of what she calls the Solidarity Dividend: gains that come when people come together across race, to accomplish what we simply can’t do on our own.


The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together is Ms. McGhee’s brilliant analysis of how we arrived here: divided and self-destructing, materially rich but spiritually starved and vastly unequal. She marshals economic and sociological research to paint an irrefutable story of racism’s costs, but at the heart of the book are the humble stories of people yearning to be part of a better America, including white supremacy’s collateral victims: white people themselves. With startling empathy, this heartfelt message from a Black woman to a multiracial America leaves us with a new vision for a future in which we finally realize that life can be more than zero-sum.


Ms. McGhee will be in conversation with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who in 2012 became the first woman from Massachusetts elected to the United States Senate and was re-elected in 2018. Sen. Warren grew up on the ragged edge of the middle class in Oklahoma and became a teacher, a law professor, and a United States Senator because America invested in kids like her. 


The February 16 webinar is sponsored by Family Action Network (FAN), in partnership with Evanston Township High School D202, Baker Demonstration School, Beacon Academy, Bennett Day School, Chiaravalle Montessori School, Compass Health Center, Connections for the Homeless, Countryside Day School, Evanston Scholars, Foundation 65, Fusion Academy, Kenilworth D38, Latin School of Chicago, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Near North Montessori School, New Trier High School D203, New Trier Parents’ Association, North Shore Country Day School, Pope John XXIII School, Porter-Gaud Parent Association, Regina Dominican College Preparatory High School, Rogers Park Montessori School, Roycemore School, Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy, Science and Arts Academy, St. Athanasius School PSO, Stevenson High School D125, VillageMD, Wolcott College Prep, Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart, and Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.).


The event will be recorded and available later on FAN’s website and YouTube channel. A bonus after-hours event is also available to webinar attendees. For more information, visit