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Heather McGhee to Deliver Keynote Address at Santa Monica College Public Policy Institute 2023 Spring Symposium

Bestselling author of “The Sum of Us” will speak on inequality and racism’s cost for everyone. Symposium to feature a week of events exploring cross-racial solidarity for a better democracy.

Heather McGhee, the author of the New York Times bestselling book “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together,” is set to deliver the keynote address at the Santa Monica College (SMC) Public Policy Institute (PPI) 2023 Spring Symposium on May 18. The free, public event will take place at John Adams Middle School (JAMS) Performing Arts Center in Santa Monica and is co-sponsored by the SMC Associated Students, City of Santa Monica, and Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD).

As part of the Santa Monica Reads program, the Santa Monica Public Library invites the community to read and discuss “The Sum of Us.” Free copies of the book are available for those who plan to participate in the program, which begins on May 1. Versions of the book for adults as well as young readers are available.

“The Sum of Us” has received critical acclaim, including being longlisted for the National Book Award and the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, and being voted one of the Best Books of the Year by Time, The Washington Post, and other publications.

SMC Superintendent/President Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery praised the community collaboration behind bringing Ms. McGhee to Santa Monica College, stating that it showcases the “willingness and unified intent of this community to grapple with the ongoing questions plaguing us as a society and nation.”

In addition to Ms. McGhee’s keynote address, the Santa Monica College Public Policy Institute (PPI) 2023 Spring Symposium will feature a number of events around the theme “From Me to We: Building Cross-racial Solidarity for a Better Democracy.” Symposium activities will include an opening talk by Prof. Ian Haney López, a screening of Derrick Bell’s science fiction story “The Space Traders” with a panel discussion and audience Q&A, and a student panel discussion on race, class, and solidarity.

The SMC Public Policy Institute provides nonpartisan community programs exploring key economic, social, and political issues. The 2023 PPI Spring Symposium marks the 12th anniversary of the popular community discussion. Santa Monica College offers an Associate in Arts Degree and Certificate of Achievement in public policy, and students can specialize in one of five public policy areas: arts and cultural affairs, education, environment and sustainability, public health, and urban/socioeconomic issues.

Guests who need an accommodation due to a disability to participate in any of these events should send email to dsps@smc.edu or call 310-434-4173 at least 5 business days in advance. The SMC Public Policy Institute Spring Symposium is co-sponsored by a wide range of education, government, and community organizations and donors, including SMC Associates and Santa Monica College Foundation. For more information, visit smc.edu/ppi or call 310-434-3541.

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