5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: August 18

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. WHO Director-General Says War in Ethiopia Not Receiving Attention Because of Racism

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said racism is the reason why the war in Ethiopia’s Tigray region is not receiving attention.

Six million people in the Tigray region don’t have access to basic services because of this conflict, which Tedros referred to as the “worst humanitarian crisis in the world” during a virtual media briefing this week. He questioned why the situation is not getting the same attention as the war in Ukraine.

“Maybe the reason is the color of the skin of the people,” he said. During a briefing in April, Tedros questioned whether “‘black and white lives”’ in emergencies worldwide are given equal attention,” according to CNN.

RELATED: “How Racial Biases Have Influenced Coverage of the Ukraine-Russia War”

2. National Museum of American History’s Latino Exhibit Receives Backlash

The Latino exhibit at the National Museum of American History has received some criticism since it opened in June.

In an opinion article written for The Hill, Alfonso Aguilar, Mike Gonzalez and Joshua Trevino said the exhibit is telling a biased narrative of the experience of Hispanics in America. The exhibit was passed in 2020 under the National Museum of the American Latino Act, which the writers say Republicans were misled to pass and told by “liberal proponents” that the museum would be fair.

The group is calling for Congress to not fund the museum.

“The exhibit, and the museum it previews, are profoundly disconnected from the actual Latino experience and cultures in the United States. It elevates only leftist ideologues, celebrates transexual activists, denigrates Christianity, denounces capitalism, condemns the West, portrays the United States as iniquitous and oppressive and badly distorts history. It advances the classic oppressor-oppressed agenda of textbook Marxism,” Alfonso, Gonzalez and Trevino wrote.

3. Black Firefighter Says Supervisor Made Him Attend a Racist Party

A Black firefighter with the Rochester Fire Department in Rochester, New York, filed a notice of claim this month saying his supervisor made him attend a racist private party held in a home in one of Rochester’s wealthiest communities.

Jerrod Jones, who has been with the fire department for 14 years, said his supervisor made him think he was attending a community event but felt uneasy as soon as he arrived because there was a large cut-out of former President Donald Trump, two Juneteenth flags and buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Jones alleges that his captain, Jeffrey Krywy, told him and two other on-duty colleagues that it was an outdoor event that would be in their district and asked them to show up in uniform.

The notice of claim states that Jones has taken a leave of absence and is “suffering emotional distress and fear of retaliation” from several firefighters who have asked him to remain silent.
The Rochester Mayor’s Office conducted an internal investigation into the allegations against Krywy, determining he needed to be terminated from the department. Krywy decided to retire before the termination proceedings begun.

4. New York State Senator, Democratic Candidate Biaggi Accused of Ageism

New York State Senator and Democratic candidate Alessandra Biaggi has been accused of ageism after tweeting last month that women past “childbearing age” would not make good legislators.

Biaggi did try to clean up what she said in a subsequent tweet, saying: “And let me be [very] clear: it’s not that we don’t need our elders in office, it’s that they are well represented and must make space for younger leaders.”

According to the New York Post, Putnam County Assemblywoman Sandra Galef said what Biaggi said was “age discrimination and sex discrimination.”

“I was elected to the Assembly when I was 52. I was of post-childbearing age. Why would she say this? The people who vote are 50 and older. Why would you want to divide people by age?” Galef said.

A group supporting Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, Biaggi’s rival for the Democratic nomination, has since used her tweet in mailers sent to voters to remind them of her remarks.

5. Indiana School District Adds “Microaggressions” to Its Student Handbook

Hamilton Southeastern Schools, a school district in Indiana, has added “microaggressions” to its student handbook, which has sparked debate within the community.

Students asked the school to add it to the handbook, which some parents agree with while others think it could lead to more problems.

Bethann Buddenbaum, who has two adopted daughters from China who have since graduated high school, told local news station WISH TV that she supports the addition, adding that her daughters deal with microaggressions regularly.

The news station reached out to the school district to ask why they included “microaggressions” to the handbook, to which the district replied: “Our mission at Hamilton Southeastern is to provide our more than 21,000 students an academically challenging education while also preparing them for the future. We believe it is important to ensure our students are prepared for the ever-changing real world and how to navigate successfully in this new environment in which we all operate. The recent update to our student handbook provides staff the opportunity to hold restorative conversations about how an intentional or unintentional interaction that communicates some kind of bias between students can be effectively addressed.”

A high school senior in the district disagreed with the addition, telling the news outlet the school shouldn’t be discussing social issues.

“It was disheartening when I went into a high school teachers’ classroom and saw BLM (Black Lives Matter) posters, for instance. That’s not a place for schools. Let’s teach the kids what they need to do and need to know in order to be successful in whatever careers they move into. Let’s not focus on the activism, let’s not focus on microaggression,” she said.