5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: April 14

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. MLB Celebrates Jackie Robinson Day, Expanding Diversity

Major League Baseball will celebrate diversity and opportunity for all on Friday with its annual observance of Jackie Robinson Day. Robinson fought for opportunity when he became the first Black man to play in MLB with the Brooklyn Dodgers 75 years ago. Jackie Robinson Day has been celebrated annually on April 15 since 2004.

Diversity has increased in the sport since Robinson’s time. In 2022, there are 975 players on the MLB Opening Day roster and inactive list, and 38% are players from diverse backgrounds (Black, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander and Native American), which is a slight increase from 2021 when 37.6% of MLB players were from diverse backgrounds. 

While diversity in the sport has increased, there is still more to be done. The number of North American-born Black players on MLB Opening Day rosters was 7.2%, which is a slight decrease from 7.6% in 2021. MLB said it is working to address this at a grassroots level and hopes future percentages will better reflect the MLB fan base and the country at large.

2. Two More Coaches Join Brian Flores in Lawsuit Against the NFL 

In other sports-related news, former Arizona Cardinals coach Steve Wilks (who coached the team for one season in 2018) and Ray Horton, a long-time assistant coach in the NFL, have joined former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores in his lawsuit against the NFL for discrimination. 

In Wilks’ complaint, he said he was hired as a “bridge coach” and wasn’t given “any meaningful chance to succeed,” adding that he was replaced by a white coach who was less qualified and received more support to stay in the position. 

In Horton’s complaint, he said he applied for the head coaching position for the Tennessee Titans in 2016 and was only considered because of the Rooney Rule. His claim says Mike Mularkey was given the job, who is white, and that Mularkey later said the Titans told him they had to interview other candidates because of the Rooney Rule but that they were going to hire him regardless. The complaint also states Mularkey said he “regretted” going through the “fake hiring process.”

3. Accenture Builds Its Own Metaverse

Before Facebook and others were thinking of the metaverse, global IT services and consulting firm Accenture (No. 2 on DiversityInc’s 2021 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list) was forming its own. 

Allison Horn, who leads global talent at the company, told Fortune that the company came up with the idea when its HR department was looking for new ways to collaborate with employees and onboard new hires when many people were still working remotely. 

Accenture said the Metaverse Continuum applies to employees and consumers across the enterprise and is the “next evolution of the internet” that will be “a continuum of rapidly emerging capabilities, use cases, technologies and experiences.”

The company also says the metaverse will allow businesses to define the human experience and establish safety in these worlds, adding that trust will also be needed to build these worlds. 

“Existing concerns around privacy, bias, fairness and human impact are sharpening as the line between people’s physical and digital lives blurs,” Accenture said. “Leading enterprises will shoulder the charge for building a responsible metaverse, and are setting the standards now.”

4. Space Industry Leaders Sign Workforce DEI Pledge

Leaders in the space industry such as Boeing Company (No. 17 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list), SpaceX, Rocket Lab and ULA have signed a pledge to improve diversity and inclusion and check in with each other to hold each other accountable. 

By signing the pledge, the 24 companies involved have agreed to achieve four goals by 2030:

  1. Increase the number of women and employees from underrepresented groups in the collective technical workforce by a significant amount
  2. Increase the number of women and employees from underrepresented groups significantly in senior leadership positions in the collective technical workforce
  3. Increase the number of women and students from underrepresented groups “receiving aerospace engineering degrees to levels commensurate with overall engineering programs” by working with universities
  4. Annually sponsor K-12 programs that “collectively reach over 5,000,000 underrepresented students”.

The Space Workforce 2030 site also states that the space industry has been defined by “doing things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

“Let us continue forward in that spirit, to advance our shared prosperity and security through space while upholding our responsibility to all those here on Earth,” Space Workforce 2030 added.

5. Compass Health Hires Its First Chief Human Resources and Diversity Officer

Compass Health has pledged to make 2022 a year of focus for its diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) strategy and has achieved a milestone in that area with the hiring of Connie Summers, its first-ever Chief Human Resources and Diversity Officer (CHRDO). 

Summers will oversee all HR management functions and ensure the company culture supports its DEIB mission. Prior to joining Compass Health, Summers was the Director of Human Services for Seattle Counseling Service and spent nearly 25 years with Boeing, where she ended her career there as a senior DEI leader. 

When speaking of her new role in a statement, Summers said she “was captivated by the drive to do the real work that is necessary to make sure that the organization is operating in an equitable and inclusive way to ensure belonging for everyone.”

“I truly feel that it is the perfect circumstance to build off of my previous experience – operationalizing equity, inclusion and belonging into Compass Health’s systems and processes in an increasingly diverse workforce and community,” she said.

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