Featuring Heather McGhee, author of “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together,” and former president and current distinguished senior fellow of Demos, in conversation with Peggy Clark, vice president of Policy Programs and executive director of Aspen Global Innovators Group at The Aspen Institute. Why does the American economy so often fail the American people? McGhee explains why racism hurts all of us and 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.
Heather McGhee designs and promotes solutions to inequality in America. Her new book, “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together” is now available from One World, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Her 2020 TED talk, “Racism Has a Cost for Everyone” reached 1 million views in just two months online. In the coming year, she will launch an original podcast on how to create cross-racial solidarity in challenging times.
Heather has testified in Congress, drafted legislation, and developed strategies for organizations and campaigns that won changes to improve the lives of millions. For nearly two decades, she helped build the non-partisan “think and do” tank Demos, serving four years as president. Through her regular media appearances, she elevates the concerns of working families on programs including NBC’s “Meet the Press”.
She is the chair of the board of Color of Change, the country’s largest online racial justice organization, and volunteers for numerous other boards in the fields of philanthropy and social justice. Heather graduated from Yale University and the University of California Berkeley School of Law, and has honorary degrees from Muhlenberg College and Niagara University. She lives in Brooklyn with her urbanist husband, a twenty year-old cat and a chatty toddler.
Peggy Clark is Vice President of Policy Programs and Executive Director of Aspen Global Innovators Group. Peggy has had a 30-year career working on issues of poverty alleviation, global health, social enterprise, and development finance. Serving in founding and leadership roles at the Aspen Institute, the Ford Foundation, Save the Children, Realizing Rights, and on boards including Root Capital, Last Mile Health, Impact Assets, the African Leaders Malaria Alliance and the Calvert Foundation, Peggy has been a leading figure in identifying and building industries, movements, and creative advocacy on key issues of our times. Peggy received a Presidential Award for Excellence in Microenterprise from President Bill Clinton, and was instrumental in passage of the WHO Global Code of Practice on the Ethical Recruitment of Health Workers. Currently, Peggy directs a portfolio of programs promoting breakthrough solutions to global development in the areas of health innovation, leadership and entrepreneurship. Previously, Peggy served as the Executive Vice President of the Aspen Institute, co-founder and Managing Director of Realizing Rights, Chair of the Women’s Program Forum at the Ford Foundation, and as the first Director of Small Scale Enterprise and Credit at Save the Children Federation.