(NEW YORK) Katten announced today that it hosted New York Times bestselling author Heather McGhee as a guest speaker at its New York office to honor Black History Month.

"At Katten, we are committed to nurturing and reinforcing a culture of belonging where all of our colleagues feel valued and included," said Amber Haggins, Katten's senior director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Talent. "Heather's lifelong work regarding the impacts of systemic racism and inequality not only helps us honor Black History Month together as a firm, but also demonstrates why diversity, equity and inclusion are essential pillars of our culture."

Katten's Financial Markets and Regulation Co-Chair Carl Kennedy welcomed McGhee at the event, which was livestreamed to all of Katten's US offices as part of the firm's Perspectives Speaker Series. The program aims to introduce a range of perspectives to promote the value of diversity and provide an opportunity to recognize the complexities and richness of different cultural identities.

"Heather's powerful storytelling acknowledges the challenges we have faced and illuminates the power of unity and solidarity that can inspire positive change, strengthen our Katten community and hopefully lead to a more inclusive society," Kennedy said.

McGhee's book The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together reveals the devastating true cost of racism — not just for people of color, but for everyone.

"This land of ancestral strangers we call the United States can be a place where our proximity to difference can reveal our common humanity," McGhee said. "But that only happens when we reject zero-sum thinking and widen the aperture to think about who benefits when we invest in structures of equity and fairness and justice."

McGhee's talk focused on the impact of racism in America and the myth of the "zero-sum game," referring to a narrative in which racial and ethnic groups are competing with one another for status, belonging and dominance. She discussed how public policies have further perpetuated America's racial divide and held the country back from broader economic achievement. She also offered examples of successful collective actions across the country.

"This story of people recognizing that they need each other has really laddered up," McGhee said. "This story of multiracial organizing, of people recognizing that we need each other, to me, is the underbilled story of this country right now."