5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: October 27

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. Download Our Latest Meeting in a Box: Native American Heritage Month

Each year in the month of November, we celebrate Native American Heritage Month. To help organizations plan their cultural competence education for next month, we’ve created a Meeting in a Box that provides a timeline of Native American history, facts and figures outlining the demographic and other information concerning Native Americans. 

Subscribe to DiversityInc Best Practices to download the full report. 

2. Obama To Visit Swing States Ahead of Midterm Elections

With less than two weeks until midterm elections, former President Barack Obama will travel to key battleground states Georgia, Wisconsin, Nevada and Pennsylvania to encourage Black, Latino and young voters to vote in the midterms, which isn’t as likely when a presidential race isn’t on the ballot. 

According to FiveThirtyEight’s polling data, which simulates the election 40,000 times to see which party most often wins the Senate or House, shows Republicans are favored to win the House in an outcome of 82 in 100. In a sample of 100 outcomes for the Senate, it’s a closer race with the Democrats still slightly ahead. The party that wins two of the three closest states will likely win the Senate majority, and Nevada and Georgia are two states currently where Republicans could win. 

Since Obama has historically been more popular with voters than current President Joe Biden and is “less tied to the current issues on voters’ minds” it’s believed he can help the Democratic party maintain its hold on the Senate. He is also “a more natural campaigner,” Jacob Rubashkin, an election analyst with Inside Elections in Washington, told Reuters. 

Ben LaBolt, who served as spokesman for the first Black president’s successful 2012 re-election campaign, told the news outlet that “President Obama remains able to unite base Democrats, persuadable voters, and motivate demographics less likely to turn out in midterm elections like young people.”

3. The Wharton School Adds a DEI Major

The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania is adding an option for students to major in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) or add it to their MBA. The option will be available next fall. 

According to Salary.com, the median salary for a DEI manager is $131,000 annually. Through the new offering, the university promises to prepare students “to face the challenges involved in creating and maintaining organizations that are diverse, inclusive, and rooted in equity” by “investigating how social, psychological, and economic factors affect the performance of individuals, groups, and firms.”

In addition to the DEI major, the school also added an Environmental, Social and Governance Factors for Business (ESGB) undergrad concentration or MBA major. 

4. Artistic Director of Oregon Shakespeare Festival Receives Widespread Support Following Death Threats

Oregon Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Nataki Garrett started receiving death threats earlier in 2022, which led her to try to isolate herself. 

As the person running one of the oldest and biggest non-profit theater companies in the U.S., that didn’t last long, and the theater company hired private security to follow Garrett to ensure her safety. 

The specifics of the death threats have not been disclosed for security reasons, but she told news outlets that she had been called racist, vulgar comments and followed home, which led her to move at one point. 

Julie Atkins, Mayor of Ashland, Oregon, where OSF is held, told Oregon Public Broadcasting she did not do anything with the news of the death threats at first because she didn’t want to believe that “someone would make a death threat against a bold, brilliant woman who brings so much value to our community.”

After the death threats became more public and in the media, Atkins decided to hire a diversity, equity and inclusion manager to diversify Ashland’s city administration, which is predominately white, and talked with the local police force about improving public safety. 

Garrett has also received support from other news outlets and The Dramatists Guild, Theater Communications Group and the Shakespeare Theater Association. 

5. Kanye West Hit With Severe Losses Following Antisemitic Remarks

After making antisemitic comments and echoing claims from far-right voices that George Floyd’s death was tied to fentanyl use instead of police brutality, rapper and businessman Kanye West claims he lost $2 billion in one day. 

While his losses have not been confirmed, West has been dropped by brands such as Adidas, Balenciaga, Gap and JP Morgan Chase. Instagram and Twitter have suspended his accounts. His Christian prep school, Donda Academy, also closed this week following backlash. 

For his George Floyd remarks, West is facing a $250 million lawsuit from family members of Floyd.

The public, meanwhile, is waiting on West’s songs to be removed from music streaming platforms. While Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has described West’s comments as “awful,” he said that none of those comments are presents in West’s music or podcasts he has appeared in on the platform. However, he added that if Universal Music’s Def Jam records, West’s former label, asked to have the music removed, Spotify would respect their wishes. 

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