Beyond Buzzwords creates public space to examine race, equity, and justice in America

Three incredible thought leaders set to lead speaker series in 2024

Beyond Buzzwords, a speaker series focused on issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and racial justice, has an exciting lineup set for its fifth year in 2024.

Hosted by Metro United Way, the series is free and entirely virtual to expand access to those interested in attending. It is designed to provide meaningful discussions on important topics to promote thinking, as well as personal and institutional application of ideas to advance racial and social justice.

In 2024, registrants will hear from leading intellectual voices Heather McGhee, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Alejandra Campoverdi. Speakers will discuss topics such as the economic cost of racism, racial reckoning and the path forward, and what it means to be a first-generation Latina in America.

To kick off the 2024 series, Heather McGee, author of The Sum of Us, will speak on Tuesday, February 6.

“If everyone in America read this book, we’d be, not only a more just country, but a more powerful, successful, and loving one,” NYT bestselling author George Saunders said. “(It’s) a vital, urgent, stirring, beautifully written book that offers a compassionate roadmap out of our present troubled moment.”

McGhee’s 2019 Ted Talk, “Racism has a cost for everyone,” has reached more than 2.5 million people. Her profile on sheds more light on her expertise and the promise she shares with her audiences.

“Heather C. McGhee designs and promotes solutions to inequality in America, showing what individuals, governments and the private sector can do to help the country live up to its ideals,” it reads.

Learn more about McGhee by clicking or tapping here.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of Between the World and Me, will be the second Beyond Buzzwords speaker on Tuesday, June 4.

Between the World and Me won the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction, and was also named a Pulitzer Prize finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, #1 New York Times Bestseller, and one of Time’s ten best nonfiction books of the decade.

“Hailed by Toni Morrison as ‘required reading,’ (Between the World and Me is) a bold and personal literary exploration of America’s racial history by the most important essayist in a generation and a writer who changed the national political conversation about race,” Rolling Stone’s review read.

Coates’ mother was a teacher, and his father was a librarian and publisher. While he never graduated college, Coates has won countless national writing awards and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2019. He is also a journalist who has written extensively for The Atlantic, as well as Time, Entertainment Weekly, and O, the Oprah Magazine, among other publications.

Learn more about Coates by clicking or tapping here.

Beyond Buzzwords 2024 will wrap up with speaker Alejandra Campoverdi, author of First Gen, on Tuesday, October 8.

“Campoverdi is a nationally recognized women’s health advocate, author, founder, producer, and former White House aide to President Obama,” her bio on her website reads.

She has an undergraduate degree from the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California and holds a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

“Intimate and unflinching, First Gen reveals the very real human and emotional costs to living the ‘American Dream,’” Qian Julie Wang, New York Times bestselling author, said. “Alejandra Campoverdi shines a guiding light for fellow ‘First and Onlys’ who struggle to overcome systemic barriers while detangling generational trauma. No discussion of America’s supposed meritocracy is complete without consideration of this powerful book.”

Campoverdi currently serves on the Boards of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy; the Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino; and the California Community Foundation. Learn more about her on her website, linked above.

Each Beyond Buzzwords is held from noon to 1 p.m. During each event, attendees will hear from the authors and be able to submit questions to be asked by a moderator.

Register for 2024 Beyond Buzzwords events now by clicking or tapping here.

Individuals and groups are welcome to register, and several local institutions like Humana, Bellarmine University, the Kentucky Science Center, Louisville MSD, and Heaven Hill have made viewing parties of Beyond Buzzwords an ongoing event.

Previous events with thought-leaders like Dr. Robin DiAngelo, Isabel Wilkerson, and Ibram X. Kendi have attracted hundreds of viewers from across the United States. Past attendees have described Beyond Buzzwords as “informative,” “enlightening,” and “impactful.”

See highlights and full discussions from previous talks on Metro United Way’s YouTube page.

Beyond Buzzwords is made possible thanks to a sponsorship by the LG&E and KU Foundation. Attendees may donate to advance Metro United Way’s programming, but the events are free and open to the public.


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