5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: January 12

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. Black Man Dies after LAPD Repeatedly Used a Taser on Him

Keenan Darnell Anderson, the cousin of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, died in the hospital after LAPD repeatedly used tasers on him following a traffic accident.

The incident happened on Jan. 3 and bodycam footage of Anderson’s arrest was released this week. NBC News reports that witnesses at the scene flagged down LAPD to the scene of the accident, saying Anderson caused it. The video footage shows Anderson in the middle of the street, saying “please help me,” before he ran away. He was told by officers to get out of the middle of the road and to the side of the street, which he eventually did, where he put his hands up against the wall and said “I didn’t mean to.”

Anderson told the officers that someone was trying to kill him and repeatedly apologized. Kelly Muñiz, a police spokesperson, said in a video statement that Anderson was told to get on the ground and did and stayed there for “several minutes,” but started to flee when more officers arrived.

“The officers gave chase and ordered Anderson to stop. Anderson ultimately stopped and was ordered to get on the ground. As the officers attempted to take Anderson into custody, he became increasingly agitated, uncooperative and resisted the officers,” she said in the video.

The bodycam footage shows that the officer grabbed Anderson, pinned him on the ground and used the taser over and over again on him as he was saying, “please don’t do this” and “they are trying to George Floyd me.” He was taken to the hospital 4 1/2 hours after the incident and died around 8:15 p.m. on Jan. 3.

Cullors said the police didn’t listen to him at all, and that the video footage was “shocking” and “disturbing to watch.”

“If there’s an accident, then it should be ambulance and firefighters. There should be professionals who are trained in crisis management,” she said. “If my cousin did not have to interact with LAPD that day, he would be alive.”

2. Unemployment Rate Reaches ”Record Low” for Black and Hispanic People, People With Disabilities

In remarks shared from the Briefing Room Thursday morning, President Biden announced that the unemployment rate in the U.S. was the lowest it’s been in half a century. 

“My first two years in office were the two strongest years for job growth on record,” he said. “We created nearly 11 million jobs, including 750,000 manufacturing jobs. And they were the two of the strongest years ever for small-business creation as well.”

The President shared additional good news, saying that the unemployment rate for Black and Hispanic workers is also “near record lows.” He added that the employment rate for people with disabilities is the lowest it has ever been. 

“We’re seeing American families breathing a little easier,” Biden said. 

3. Women 60 and Older, Abbott Elementary Stars See Major Wins at the Golden Globes

While representation of women wasn’t very apparent at the Golden Globes in 2022, this year’s awards event was a big night for Michelle Yeoh, Angela Bassett and Jennifer Coolidge, all actresses who are over the age of 60. 

Yeoh won for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture for her role in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” Bassett won for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for her performance as Queen Ramonda in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” and Coolidge won for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Limited Series for her role as Tonya McQuoid in “The White Lotus.”

Historically in Hollywood, aging isn’t necessarily celebrated and there aren’t many roles available for older women. According to the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, only three of the top 100 movies in 2019 had women over 45 in leading or co-leading roles. Yeoh’s, Bassett’s and Coolidge’s wins may signal a change in the industry. 

“Abbott Elementary” also made history at the Golden Globes, winning for Best Comedy Series and becoming the first network series to win in that category in nine years. During her acceptance speech, star and creator Quinta Brunson said “During a very tough time in this country, I’m happy that Abbott Elementary is able to make people laugh.”

Backstage, she told reporters that “you can’t tell a story about a West Philadelphia public school without just being truthful about the environment,” which meant including LGBTQ+ storylines and diversity in the show.

Tyler James Williams won his first Golden Globe in the Best Supporting Actor in a Musical, Comedy or Drama category for his role as Gregory Eddie on the show.

4. Diversity Challenges Remain in the World of Sports

There’s been a push to make sports more diverse, equitable and inclusive, but news reports show that there’s still a lot of work to be done. 

The Rooney Rule was established in 2003 to encourage the NFL to hire more people of color in head coaching positions, but that has yet to be seen. At the start of the football season in 2022, there were only three teams that had Black head coaches: The Tampa Buccaneers with head coach Todd Bowles, the Pittsburgh Steelers with Mike Tomlin and the Houston Texans with Lovie Smith, who has since been fired. 

Black coaches have been fired by the Texans in back-to-back years, which NFL insiders cite as a diversity problem. In an episode of the Audacy Original Podcast “In The Huddle,” hosts Carl Dukes and Jason La Canfora blamed Texans owner Cal McNair and general manager Nick Caserio for the “despicable” situation. 

“Nick Caserio, who’s the general manager there, the way he’s handled these situations, what he’s done, the culture that he’s built which is ‘Yes, we’re encouraging African American coaches to apply and we want to have one’ and then you do what you’re doing is just despicable,” Dukes said.

RELATED: “How Sports Influence Diversity Policies and What More Needs to Be Done” 

It’s not just the NFL that’s having diversity challenges; it’s also women’s soccer in the U.S. as well as other sports. 

While the U.S. women’s soccer team has seen some progress on the diversity front, some kids are excluded from the sport because of its “pay-to-play” model. To further increase diversity in the sport, U.S. national team defender Crystal Dunn has said young women of color need to feel like the sport welcomes them, WILX10 reports

5. Representation of Women in News Is Lacking

A report from the International Women’s Media Foundation titled “The Missing Perspectives of Women in News” highlights the gender gap in news across six countries: the U.S., the U.K., Nigeria, South Africa, India and Kenya. 

The study shows that there is an addressable gender news consumption gap of 11-12% between men and women. If this gap were closed a percentage point each year for the next 10 years through strategic, editorial and creative decisions, the global newspaper industry could increase its revenues by $11 billion by 2027 and $38 billion by 2032. 

In an article as part of the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting, Jeanne Bourgault, President and CEO of Internews, said news outlets could bridge the gender gap by forming a strategy around gender diversity, writing more news stories focused on women and by hiring more women of color in the newsroom.

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