Old Dominion University’s Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity and Sentara Healthcare’s Employee Resource Group will host a community conversation with author and socioeconomic policy expert Heather McGhee from 6 to 7 p.m. Oct. 26 in the Big Blue Room at Chartway Arena.

This event, titled “CommUNITY Conversation: Why We are Better Together,” is free and open to the public. To RSVP, please click here.

“These days, it can seem like unity and understanding is nearly impossible,” said Veleka Gatling, ODU’s assistant vice president for diversity and inclusive excellence in the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity. “For Heather McGhee, bridging divides is not only a possibility, but something she works to make a reality every day.”

As chair of the board of Color of Change, the nation's largest online racial justice organization and a member of other influential boards, McGhee remains at the forefront of the fight for a more equitable United States.

McGhee will talk with attendees about the intersections of justice, discrimination and practical change, and the powerful growth that can come from working together. At the end of the discussion, she will challenge the audience to commit to building a more equitable society and will conclude with a Q&A session.

With an extensive career in public policy, McGhee has played a crucial role in crafting legislation and testifying before Congress. McGhee’s legacy extends to her leadership at Demos, a non-partisan think tank, where she championed key policy initiatives such as debt-free college. McGhee has also served as a visiting lecturer in urban studies at the City University of New York's School of Labor and Urban Studies.

The agenda for “CommUNITY Conversation: Why We Are Better Together” is:

  • 6 p.m.: Opening remarks by Dana Beckton, chief diversity officer, Sentara Healthcare, and Zaria Gassaway, ODU Student Government Association president
  • 6:10 p.m.: CommUNITY Conversation with McGhee moderated by Ron Carlee, clinical assistant professor in the Strome College of Business’ School of Public Service
  • 6:50 p.m.: Q&A

McGhee is the author of "The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together," which spent 10 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. McGhee is a regular guest on NBC's "Meet the Press" and MSNBC's "Morning Joe." She delivered a 2020 TED talk titled "Racism Has a Cost for Everyone.”