Insights to Impact

The Latest from Brooklyn Community Foundation


Webinar • Change Starts Here: 'The Sum of Us' with Heather McGhee and Rabbi Rachel Timoner

“The basic idea of the zero sum is that the points on the board – [for] teams, people who are opposing each other in a game, always add up to zero - so if you score one point, I lose one point. And that means that if you win, I lose. Your gain means my loss, progress for you… comes at my expense. A dollar more in my pocket means a dollar less in yours…

When I first met some researchers who had really identified that this was a predominant way of thinking, particularly among white Americans when they think about racial competition, it made a lot of things make sense about why it is that so often we seem to be as a society engaged in self-sabotage, and why racialized narratives about things that are in the common good are so powerful in defeating them.”

- Heather McGhee

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? 

In the conversation below, Brooklyn Community Foundation Board member Rabbi Rachel Timoner of Congregation Beth Elohim (CBE) joins author, activist, and Brooklyn Community Foundation inaugural Fair and Just Fellow  Heather McGhee to discuss her new book 'The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together.' 'The Sum of Us' is a brilliant analysis of how our nation arrived here: divided and self-destructing, materially rich but spiritually starved and vastly unequal.

Of course, to achieve lasting structural change and racial equity in Brooklyn and beyond we must invest in our communities. Change starts here, and it starts with youPlease consider making a donation today to invest in a better future for Brooklyn.

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Please Note: The recording of this discussion is only available for a limited time - please check it out before June 20, 2021.

Racial Justice, Webinars

Jameela Syed

Communications Manager (She/Her/Hers)
“All the really important things we can't do alone...So I want to lift up all of the different ways that Brooklyn Community Foundation pools folks' resources and is a menu of join and be involved in… Whatever the issue is, whether it's school funding, diversity, or affordable housing or environmental injustice, just volunteer – get involved. ” - Heather McGhee