Five Towns: One Book to Spark Dialogue About How Racism Hurts All Americans

The Coalition for Understanding Racism through Education (CURE) in partnership with five local libraries and LMC Media will host “Five Towns: One Book,” a series of free events to spark dialogue among communities on the Sound Shore and beyond about how the problem of racism stands in the way of a more equitable and abundant America for all.


Five Towns: One Book draws on the New York Times best-seller The Sum Of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone And How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee and will feature five moderated chapter discussions with experts and advocates, culminating in a conversation with Ms. McGhee herself on March 27 at 2pm. All events are free and open to the public. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask Ms. McGhee and other experts questions directly after each moderated discussion. All events will take place virtually, with the potential for an in-person component pending COVID policy at each library.


An expert in economic and social policy and the former president of the inequality-focused think tank Demos, Ms. McGhee has drafted legislation, testified before Congress, and contributed regularly to news shows including NBC’s Meet the Press. She now chairs the board of Color of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. Ms. McGhee holds a BA in American studies from Yale University and a JD from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.


Ms. McGhee’s speciality is the American economy and why it so often fails the American public. In The Sum of Us, she explores how racism in US politics and policymaking has become the common denominator of our most vexing national problems, harming not only people of color but white people as well. Ms. McGhee embarks on a deeply personal journey across the country, 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. At the same time, McGhee finds pervasive proof of what she calls the Solidarity Dividend: the benefits we gain when people come together across race to accomplish what we simply can’t do on our own.


The schedule of community conversations is:


Thursday, February 17th at 7pm-8:30 pm – Chapter 8, The Same Sky (Environmental Justice)


Sunday, February 27th at 2:30-4:00 pm – Chapter 10, The Solidarity Dividend Wednesday, March 9th at 7pm-8:30 pm Chapter 9, The Hidden Wound (The cost of Whiteness)


Saturday, March 19th at 2pm-3:30 pm – Chapter 7, Living Apart (Housing and Schools) Sunday, March 27th at 2pm-3:30pm with Heather McGhee


Should COVID conditions and policies permit, these events will be hybrid with both limited in-person attendance and virtual participation; details to follow. To register for the event with Ms. McGhee, or for one of the four chapter conversations, go to:

The five libraries partnering with CURE are Harrison Public Library, Larchmont Public Library, Mamaroneck Public Library, New Rochelle Public Library, and Rye Free Reading Room. In addition, twenty one other libraries from the Westchester Library System and over forty community organizations throughout Westchester County have committed to reading The Sum Of Us, participate in one or more virtual events, and/or amplify the events via social media. In addition, the libraries will use this toolkit to bring resources to their libraries to promote racial healing and awareness. The toolkit was created by the Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Initiative discussed in Ms. McGhee’s book.


This program is generously funded by the Westchester County Board of Legislators. Copies of The Sum Of Us are available via local libraries and CURE recommends this local bookseller, Otilia Taylor-Tanner of The Humble Bumble. Recording of any of these events is not permitted. 


For more information on Ms. McGhee visit


For more information,visit