5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: May 26

As the saying goes, the news never stops — but there’s a lot of it out there, and all of it doesn’t always pertain to our readers. In this weekly news roundup, we’ll cover the top news stories that matter most to our diversity focused audience.

1. More Than 200 Mass Shootings Have Happened So Far in 2022

In the first five months of 2022, 213 mass shootings have occurred, which is more than the number of days that have passed in the year. 

The most recent shooting happened at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where an 18-year-old high school student opened fire and killed two teachers and 19 students. Law enforcement eventually killed the shooter after he barricaded himself in a classroom. 

According to the Gun Violence Archive, 21 of the 213 shootings that have occurred this year have taken place in Texas, resulting in 45 people killed and 100 injuries. 

The second-deadliest shooting that has happened this year was the shooting in Buffalo, New York, at a Tops grocery store last weekend where 10 Black people were killed. The attack was fueled by racism and happened in a predominantly Black neighborhood. 

While mass shootings are averaging at 10 a week and are on par with 2021, some are pushing for gun control while others are not. Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin said he’s not focused on gun control but does think there should be a focus on mental health resources. 

During a press conference after the Uvalde school shooting, President Biden spoke of knowing the pain of losing children and talked about standing up to the gun lobby.

“It is time to turn this pain [into] action,” he said. “For every parent, every citizen of this country. We have to make it clear to every elected official in this country: It’s time to act. It’s time for those who obstruct or delay or blocked the common sense gun laws – we need to let you know that we will not forget.”

 2. How To Discuss Mass Shootings With Your Employees

In the wake of the tragic shootings that have happened, people are processing these events in different ways, and it might be a good idea to talk with employees to see how they are feeling. 

On a recent DiversityInc webinar titled “Mental Health: Redefining Wellbeing in the Workplace,” panelists were asked how they address the needs of employees of color following mass shootings. 

Lisette Martinez, Executive VP & Chief Diversity Officer at Jefferson Health and Thomas Jefferson University, said the company offers continued opportunities for “brave conversations,” which allows employees to share and talk about how they are feeling. 

“If we’ve talked about this a lot, I think we’ll have these safe spaces for employees,” she said. “You can’t say it enough, providing opportunities for folks in a space where they can share anything helps them be able to move along and it also really shares how the organization is connecting with our folks and saying, ‘it’s OK. We understand and we want to be there for you, let’s talk about what we can do to improve.’”

Subscribe to DiversityInc Best Practices to read the full article and learn more about helping employees cope with trauma related to mass shootings and other events.

3. Public Welfare Foundation Awards Seven True Reformer Grants Totaling $3.5 Million

The Public Welfare Foundation announced that it has awarded seven True Reformer Grants totaling $3.5 million to organizations with restorative, community-led, and racially just approaches. This investment was made in honor of the Public Welfare Foundation’s 75th anniversary.

The $3.5 million was broken up into $500,000 for each organization. The grants were awarded to:

  • Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition: Denver, Colorado
  • Michigan Center for Youth Justice: Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Operation Restoration: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • People’s Advocacy Institute: Jackson, Mississippi
  • The African American Roundtable: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Voices for a Second Chance: Washington, D.C.
  • Women on the Rise: Atlanta, Georgia

The grants are named after the True Reformer building where the Public Welfare Foundation is housed. The grants help recognize these seven partners by providing an investment that will help them progress and puts them in a position to have long-term impact.

Public Welfare Foundation President and CEO Candice C. Jones said in a statement that the 75th anniversary provides “an opportunity to reflect and look forward in anticipation.”

“Each of Public Welfare’s True Reformer grant recipients demonstrates courageous leadership in advancing justice that’s just. They are paving the way for a new, transformative approach to justice that is community-led, restorative, and racially just. They deserve not just our praise, but our investment to ensure that they can continue to advance this work in the years to come,” she said.

4. White House Recognizes Two Shaw University Students As HBCU Scholars

As part of the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Nakya Carter and Jameliah Pinder of Shaw University have been recognized as HBCU Scholars for 2022. Carter is a junior double majoring in business and mass communications and Pinder is a senior majoring in political science. 

The White House HBCU Scholar Recognition Program recognizes outstanding students. Students who receive this honor are recommended by HBCU faculty. Their candidacy is distinguished by a combination of academic achievements, campus leadership, entrepreneurial spirit and civic engagement. 

Those chosen as HBCU Scholars will serve as ambassadors for their initiative and their school, be recognized publicly by the U.S. Department of Education and be invited to attend the 2022 Annual National HBCU Week Conference, which is filled with workshops to help students advance their leadership skills, professional development and HBCU excellence. Students recognized will also have the chance to participate in master classes held monthly by the initiative and its partners.

5. Tips from KeyBank for Improving Mental Health in the Workplace

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and KeyBank (ranked No. 18 on the 2022 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list) is focused on listening to employees to find out how they are feeling to inform decisions around improving mental health policies.

On a recent DiversityInc webinar titled “Mental Health: Redefining Wellbeing in the Workplace,” Katie Talarico, an Employee Benefits Manager at KeyBank, explained why the company starts with listening and understanding:

“Mental health issues can present without us really realizing there’s a problem,” she said. “Our main focus has been subtle signs that you need to care for your mental health and this topic was incorporated into all of our programming and communications. We showcased our broad spectrum of support, which includes assessments, screening tools, apps, counseling and treatment programs for specific needs.”

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