5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: July 22

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. Senate Democrats Seek to Protect Same-Sex Marriage

After the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill to protect same-sex and interracial marriages amid concerns that the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe v. Wade could jeopardize these rights, the Senate unexpectedly initiated a new push to protect same-sex marriage in federal law, The Associated Press reports.

The legislation started out as a political effort during an election season to confront the Supreme Court majority that overturned Roe v. Wade, which raised concerns that other rights such as same-sex marriage, interracial marriage and access to contraceptives were at risk.

The legislation now has a chance of becoming law and “pressure is mounting on Republicans to drop their longstanding opposition and join in a bipartisan moment for gay rights,” according to the AP. The House had a 267-157 tally with 46 Republicans voting for the bill on Tuesday.

2. House Democrats Arrested at Abortions Rights Rally Outside the Supreme Court

Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Jackie Speier (Calif.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Cori Bush (Mo.), Katherine Clark (Mass.), Andy Levin (Mich.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Alma Adams (N.C.), Veronica Escobar (Texas) and Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.) were arrested during an abortion rights rally outside of the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

In a statement on her website, Maloney said “there is no democracy if women do not have control over their own bodies and decisions about their own health, including reproductive care.”

She added that “the Republican Party and the right-wing extremists behind this decision are not pro-life, but pro-controlling the bodies of women, girls, and any person who can become pregnant. Their ultimate goal is to institute a national ban on abortion. We will not let them win. We will be back.”

In a Tweet, Speier said she was proud to march with her Democratic colleagues and get arrested for women’s rights.

3. The Implication of Abortion Restrictions

This week on Fair360, formerly DiversityInc, we looked at how corporations plan to help employees get abortions and the potential privacy risks for abortion seekers.

During a webinar titled “Ensuring Reproductive Health: What Are Companies Doing?” presented by Rutgers University’s Center for Women and Work, Yana van der Meulen Rodgers, a professor in the Department of Labor Studies and Employment Relations at Rutgers University and Faculty Director of the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers, said many companies have come out saying they will provide benefits for abortion seekers but how they are doing so may or may not protect the privacy of the employee.

“There are some considerations,” she said. “Like if someone is doing it through their health insurance plan, apparently that will protect the privacy of abortion seekers. But if it’s some other form like a direct reimbursement, that may not protect the privacy of abortion seekers.”

For a deeper dive into the potential legal obstacles to abortion care for states and employers, subscribe to Fair360 Enterprise.

4. Stop AAPI Hate Report Analyzes Hate Incident Data Over Last Two Years

 A new report from Stop AAPI Hate looking at racism and discrimination the AAPI community has faced since the start of the pandemic shows there were nearly 11,500 hate incidents reported to the organization between March 19, 2020, and March 31, 2022.

Key findings from the report, titled “Two Years and Thousands of Voices,” shows most harmful hate incidents AAPI community members experienced were non-criminal incidents.

The study also shows that harassment of AAPI people is a problem as 67% of the 11,500 incidents involved harassment in the form of verbal or written hate speech or inappropriate gestures.

AAPI people who are women, non-binary, LGBTQ+ and/or elderly reported experiencing hate incidents that “target them for more than one of their identities at once,” Stop AAPI Hate said in a release.

“Our self-reported data shows that if you’re only watching the news, you aren’t getting the full picture of what AAPIs are experiencing,” Russell Jeung, Ph.D., co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate and professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, said in a statement. “AAPIs are verbally harassed in grocery stores and shops, on the street and on public transit. We have a right to be treated with dignity and respect.”

5. Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies Writes to FCC on Need for Broadband in the Black Rural South

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies submitted comments to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) on the importance of ensuring broadband resources are “equitably deployed” by the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Joint Center said in a release.

In its comments, The Joint Center said Black households in the Black rural south “are among the most underserved by broadband in the nation, and the federal infrastructure law represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix this problem.”

“However, southern state officials responsible for deploying federal broadband resources could exclude Black communities in the Black rural south by prioritizing broadband deployment in areas populated by the bulk of the state officials’ political supporters,” The Joint Center said. “Even absent intentional exclusion, Black community leaders in the Black rural south may be less able to participate in the state broadband planning process due to limited resources and a need to focus on other pressing problems like securing clean drinking water.”

If federal agencies, state governments and local leaders in the Black rural south do not work together, state governments in southern states could deploy federal infrastructure resources that “expand racial disparities in broadband in the Black rural south,” the center said.