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Central Valley Foundation’s ‘Community Read’ Focuses on Costs of Racism to All



Author Heather McGhee is coming to Fresno next month. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)
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If you think racism is costly only for people who are being discriminated against, you’ll want to read Heather McGhee’s book, “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together.”

The Central Valley Community Foundation and Fresno DRIVE are co-hosting a community read of the New York Times bestseller and a conversation with McGhee next month at Fresno High School.

The book is available for free checkout through the Fresno County Public Library system.

This is the first community read sponsored by the Central Valley Community Foundation and Fresno DRIVE, said julie vue, senior program manager for race equity and inclusion. (Note: vue spells her name with lowercase letters.)

‘Internal Book Club’ Sparked Community Read, Conversation

The focus of the two organizations is to promote racially inclusive economic development, and staffers engaged in an “internal book club” when McGhee’s book was recommended, vue said.

That led to the idea to suggest the book as a community read, and to bring McGhee to Fresno, she said.

“We, meaning CVCF and DRIVE, understand that moving Fresno toward an inclusive city and economy is incumbent on all of us working together and holding up our shared interest of improving Fresno,” vue said.

The community read and conversation with McGhee will provide an opportunity to widen the conversation beyond individuals and organizations that are already collaborating with DRIVE, she said.

The goal is to attract a large and diverse audience that will include “our White and economically advantaged community” who are the most distant from the “marginalization of racism,” vue said.

“Like Heather McGhee, we believe that racism impacts everyone and everyone has a role to play in prosperity,” she said.

The conversation with McGhee will be at Fresno High’s Royce Hall at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 27. Tickets are free but are first-come, first-served. To register for a ticket, click here.

DRIVE Innovations Series

McGhee is the first speaker of prominence in the DRIVE Innovations Series that was launched last fall, vue said.

“Through this series, we hope to continue to bring more knowledge and learning to our community in order to learn and grow together,” she said.

Past speakers focused on social networks and inequality, equity of community and education, and solutions to the housing crisis and redlining, which historically was a practice to refuse loans or insurance to individuals — usually people of color — who lived in areas considered a poor financial risk.

In addition to the community read, the foundation is hosting a Virtual Community Mixer to discuss McGhee’s book at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 29, on Zoom. The host will be Dr. Renee Cromer, a learning and development consultant and coach and a social work adjunct professor at Fresno Pacific University.

Click here to register for the virtual mixer.

Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email

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