5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: June 23

Updated on June 24, 2022. 

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. Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade, Ends 50 Years of Federal Abortion Rights

The Supreme Court voted in a 6-3 decision today to overturn Roe v. Wade, putting an end to 50 years of federal abortion rights.

The decision means that abortion rights will be rolled back immediately in nearly half of the states and more restrictions are likely to follow.

As mentioned in a May 5 article, this decision could lead to overturning other laws that protect human rights. In the few hours since the decision was made, news outlets have reported that the Supreme Court could next consider overturning same-sex marriage and access to the use of contraceptives.

Read through the articles below for more coverage related to Roe v. Wade.

2. Tesla Lays Off President of LGBTQ+ Community, Diversity Lead

Tesla has laid off the President of its LGBTQ+ community and a lead involved in its diversity and inclusivity initiatives amid comments made by CEO Elon Musk for what he described as “woke mind virus.”

These layoffs come as part of a broader range of layoffs, which Musk communicated to employees in an email earlier this month. The email said the company needed to cut 10% of its workforce, which the CEO said would be for a “salaried headcount” because Tesla has become overstaffed after a long phase of growth. 

The layoff of diversity and LGBTQ+ leaders come shortly after Musk Tweeted about a “woke mind virus” needing to be stopped or it would “destroy civilization.”

3. Native American Tribes Ask Supreme Court to Keep Clean Water Act Protections

A group of 18 Native American tribes came before the U.S. Supreme Court to ask it to keep the protections of the Clean Water Act and stop two landowners from Idaho from building a house on a wetland. 

The tribes urged the Supreme Court to side with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “which backed a Ninth Circuit ruling finding the government properly considered the landowners’ property covered by the CWA, since it sits just 30 feet from scenic Priest Lake,” Law360 reports

An attorney for the tribes told the news outlet that the case could ruin protections the tribes have that allow them to access water sources. 

“The court could use the case as a vehicle to revisit its fractured 4-1-4 2006 decision in Rapanos v. United States that established a test for determining which waters are subject to federal rules,” according to Law360. 

The landowners sued the EPA in 2008 after the organization told them they needed a permit to build on a wetland that feeds the lake. But recently, a federal judge in Idaho and the Ninth Circuit “found the landowners’ property was covered by the CWA by applying the ‘significant nexus’ test from the Rapanos decision,” Law360 reports. 

4. Allstate, Progressive End Relationships with Maine Insurance Agency Over Racist Juneteenth Sign

Allstate Insurance and Progressive Insurance have ended their relationships with an insurance agency in Millinocket, Maine, after the business posted a racist Juneteenth sign on its door. 

The sign read “Juneteenth ~it’s whatever… We’re closed. Enjoy your fried chicken & collard greens” in a large font on the front door of the agency. 

The sign was shared online on Monday and gained the attention of thousands on social media. 

Progressive spokesperson Jeff Sibel told NPR that the company was “appalled by the sign” and was terminating its relationship with the agency. 

“At Progressive, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are fundamental to our Core Values. We’re committed to creating an environment where our people feel welcomed, valued and respected and expect that anyone representing Progressive to take part in this commitment,” Sibel wrote. “The sign is in direct violation of that commitment and doesn’t align with our company’s Core Values and Code of Conduct.”

5. Dow Releases 2021 Environmental Report

Dow (ranked No. 15 on Fair360, formerly DiversityInc’s 2022 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list), recently released its INtersections report, which looks at the interdependency of environment and society, innovation and science and collaboration and action. The report builds on 18 years of sustainability reporting and three years of diversity reporting. 

The report is based on full-year 2021 data. Some key highlights include:

Taking action to drive inclusion, diversity and equity. Dow introduced new paid-time-off policies to its global workforce to give employees an equal opportunity for parental leave and to engage with employee resource groups (ERGs). The company also surpassed its improvement goals for U.S. ethnic minorities (26%) and women in leadership (35.3%) around the world. 

Looked to diverse stakeholders to create social change. Dow increased its commitment to $13 million for Dow ACTs, which is designed to address systemic racism and inequality. The company also joined OneTen, which is a coalition of businesses that have committed to “upskill, hire and advance 1 million Black individuals in the United States over the next decade,” according to Dow.