Heather & Garry on Upstanders Season 2

| video

The second season of the Starbucks original series Upstanders features the story of Demos President Heather McGhee and Asheville, North Carolina resident Garry Civitello. Their story began after Garry called into C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” program, on which Heather was a guest. Garry confessed his racial prejudice to Heather and asked her help, which Heather provided and has continued to offer in the year since their fateful, on-air meeting.

Watch and find out more about Heather and Garry's episode of Upstanders

Heather McGhee on her and Garry's Upstanders' appearance:

“The first time Garry and I spoke, he asked for my advice on how to combat his racial prejudice because he wanted to become ‘a better American.’ And with all of the conversations that Garry and I have had since then, all of the experiences and thoughts we’ve shared, it is still those three words – ‘a better American’ – that have stayed with me.

“In the past year, our nation has experienced a profound shift, both in our government and its policies, and in our understanding of ourselves. We have witnessed mass outrage and public action from people who never would have called themselves activists before this year. We have recognized, more widely and vividly than ever before, the reality that violent white supremacy is a real and present danger in our communities. We have all, in some way, grappled with the question of what it means to be a good American.

“When people watch the story of my unlikely friendship with Garry, I hope that they will see a path forward, and understand that they do not need to accept racial division as the status quo. Yes, racism is alive and well in America, but that does not mean that it should be our norm or that it is unchangeable. With honesty, empathy – and yes, a little courage – we can all strive to be ‘better Americans’.”



Below are some additional resources for continued racial equity learning and healing, including Garry and Heather's recommended reading lists, a racial healing toolkit, and Heather's related podcast appearances.

Recommended Reading

Garry's List

Heather's List

Heather's Podcast Appearances

It’s hard to imagine honest, revelatory, even enjoyable conversation between people on distant points of American life right now. But in this public conversation at the Citizen University annual conference, Matt Kibbe and Heather McGhee show us how. He’s a libertarian who helped activate the Tea Party. She’s a millennial progressive leader. They are bridge people for this moment — holding passion and conviction together with an enthusiasm for engaging difference, and carrying questions as vigorously as they carry answers.

Racial Healing Toolkit
In 2010, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation launched America Healing, an effort to put the belief in a false human hierarchy based on physical characteristics and the racial and structural inequalities it creates behind us, by first putting it squarely in front of us.