5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: September 15

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. Non-Profit To Pay Black Employee $100,000 in Race Discrimination Lawsuit

Non-profit Skils’kin, which focuses on disabilities and employment in Washington, Montana, Oklahoma, and Wyoming, will pay $100,000 in a race discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC said that the only Black employee on the company’s grounds crew at Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming, was called racial slurs by other employees of the non-profit. When the employee told Skils’kin about the racial slurs, the company made him work directly with the coworker and supervisor who said the racially offensive statements.

Despite multiple years of service with Skils’kin, the company ignored his complaints and fired him.

On top of paying $100,000 to the former employee, Skils’kin will have to conduct training on unlawful race discrimination, race harassment and retaliation and review and update its discrimination and non-retaliation policies.

2. Divine Nine Calls on Senators To Reinstate Roe v. Wade

The Divine Nine, nine sororities and fraternities of the National Pan-Hellenic Council that was created by Black students over a century ago that are mostly at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), has called on senators to reinstate Roe v. Wade through its Tell Somebody Now PSA Campaign.

The campaign was launched this week by the over 1 million Black college students and graduates that make up the Divine Nine and is being led by Phi Beta Sigma.

The campaign focuses on how the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has disproportionately affected Black women. The campaign empowers the community to “counteract the potentially disastrous effect of the repeal by urging Americans to contact the politicians who can make the most difference,” according to a press release from Phi Beta Sigma.

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity President Chris V. Rey, J.D. said in a statement that “overturning Roe v. Wade will not end abortion, it will only end safe abortions and access to healthcare for millions of women—particularly poor women of color—and fuel a full-fledged public health crisis in this country.”

He added that his organization is calling on members of the Divine Nine to contact lawmakers to “mitigate the impact of this egregious blow to the wellbeing of 10 million Black women of childbearing age.”

In other Divine Nine news, the U.S. Navy Recruiting Outreach and Diversity announced that it has established a Divine Nine Ambassador program to work more closely with students, faculty, administration and alumni at HBCUs.

The Navy has appointed 19 active-duty officers and reservists, most of which are HBCU grads with Divine Nine affiliations, to serve as ambassadors. These ambassadors will attend HBCU events to develop better connections with current members of the Divine Nine and share information about career opportunities in the Navy.

3. U.S. Department of State Announces Its Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) Plan

Under the leadership of Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, the U.S. Department of State is releasing components of its Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) Strategic Plan.

The DEIA is a five-year strategic plan that was created by Abercrombie-Winstanley and her team with input from department stakeholders. The department’s first-ever Demographic Baseline Report also came out of this strategic plan.

According to a press statement from Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, the DEIA Strategic Plan “will make workforce data more accessible to Department leadership teams and employees alike, set goals for recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce, enhance the reasonable accommodations process, and establish concrete measures to promote greater inclusivity for women, employees with disabilities, LGBTQI+ employees, and religious, racial, and ethnic minorities.”

4. DeSantis Flies Migrants to Martha’s Vineyard

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sent two planes of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday. There was confusion over whether the migrants came from Florida or Texas, but DeSantis’s office said it was responsible for sending them there.

Taryn Fenske, communications director for DeSantis, told Politico that “states like Massachusetts, New York, and California will better facilitate the care of these individuals who they have invited into our country by incentivizing illegal immigration through their designation as ‘sanctuary states’ and support for the Biden Administration’s open border policies.”

For months, DeSantis has said that he would bus undocumented immigrants to President Biden’s home state of Delaware and also to Martha’s Vineyard. So far he has only sent migrants to Martha’s Vineyard.

Julian Cyr, the state senator who represents Martha’s Vineyard, denounced the move, saying “it’s pretty disgusting to see that politicians are capitalizing on the difficult circumstances these families are in for a ‘gotcha’ moment and political stunt.”

5. How To Create Age-Inclusive Environments in the Workplace

There are many strengths that can come from a multigenerational workplace, but employers must first combat ageism to reveal these strengths.

While the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits age discrimination against those 40 or older, employees who are members of older generations still face unfair treatment in the workplace at times.

The same goes for younger generations, but there aren’t many laws like the ADEA that protect younger employees.

There are several things employers can do to combat ageism and see the benefits of a multigenerational workplace. To start, avoid using language such as “recent grads” so you’re not excluding anyone from applying to your job opening.  Don’t assume that older workers are worthy of being hired because they will retire soon. And strive for equity while creating fair outcomes for all employees.

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