Category Archives: News

How Pinterest’s Head of Inclusion And Diversity Is Sparking Change

Candace Morgan

Despite its efforts, Silicon Valley still has a major issue with diversity. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, more than 60 percent of the tech industry is white, those jarring statistics not only impacts workplace dynamics and culture but can shift the thought process surrounding a companies’ product and overall purpose. In July of 2016, Pinterest announced specific goals and programs to improve and enhance inclusiveness at the company. Since joining Pinterest as Head of Inclusion and Diversity at the beginning of 2016, Candice Morgan has made some major headway by curating impactful D&I programs such as Pinterest Apprenticeship, Knit Con, and working with Pinterest’s product team to create more inclusive beauty searches on the platform.

Prior to joining Pinterest, Morgan spent nearly 10 years at Catalyst, the leading nonprofit for research, advisory, and practices on women in business, where she was an expert in change management and organizational transformation. She holds a Master of Science in cross-cultural psychology from Brunel University in the United Kingdom and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Carnegie Mellon University. (read more)

Michael B. Jordan and Riz Ahmed want to see more diversity reflected onscreen

micheal b jordan 1

In the upcoming Warner Bros. film “Just Mercy,” Michael B. Jordan portrays civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson, who works to free a death row prisoner played by Jamie Foxx.

Minutes after Warner Bros. showed the first footage of the legal drama at Tuesday’s CAA Amplify leadership summit in Ojai, Jordan noted his hope that the film can “be used as a tool to really make some real change.”

Foxx portrays the ill-fated inmate Walter “Johnny D.” McMillian — a role he said he’s been preparing for all his life. Foxx then shared tough stories of his upbringing in Terrell, Texas, like when he was subjected to racial slurs while playing piano at a Christmas party, and even noted how he was pulled over by police while driving in Los Angeles. (read more)

Michael Jackson Estate Releases Statement on 10th Anniversary of Singer’s Death

micheal jackson.jpg

“Ten years ago today, the world lost a gifted artist and extraordinary humanitarian,” the statement reads.

The estate of Michael Jackson has released a statement on the tenth anniversary of the entertainer’s untimely death.

“Ten years ago today, the world lost a gifted artist and extraordinary humanitarian,” the statement begins. “The entire global community joined in grieving during a powerful and emotional memorial service witnessed by more people than had ever viewed a live event before.”

Jackson died June 25, 2009 of acute Propofol intoxication at age 50. At the time of his death, he had been prepping for his comeback concert residency This Is It at London’s O2 Arena.

“United in grief, the world wept not only at the loss of an artistic genius but at the void left by the loss of a father, son and brother,” the statement continues. “A decade later, Michael Jackson is still with us, his influence embedded in dance, fashion, art and music of the moment. He is more important than ever. But the true measure of Michael was his giving to others which came in many forms.” (read more)

H&M’s new diversity chief designs a more inclusive future

H&M diversity

H&M is set to kick off a series of workshops and training this fall for thousands of its employees at its more than 500 North American stores aimed at addressing unconscious bias.

The moves are the first of their kind for the fast-fashion chain and come after it faced international backlash early last year when a black child model wearing a “monkey in the jungle” T-shirt was featured on its website in United Kingdom.

Since the uproar, H&M has hired Nigerian-born Ezinne Kwubiri, the first to hold the position as H&M head of inclusion and diversity for North America, its largest market. Kwubiri, a former Viacom executive who joined last October, reports directly to H&M’s new North American president, Martino Pessina. She works with Annie Wu, who is based at the company headquarters in Stockholm and was named global head of diversity and inclusiveness of H&M early last year. Kwubiri is developing a comprehensive inclusion, diversity and cultural plan that includes training for all 17,000 U.S. workers, including new employees during their orientation. Training has already been completed for the management, regional and district teams. H&M has turned to consulting firms like Accenture to help develop the workshops.

The moves come as other companies including Gucci and Prada are pledging to combat racism in the fashion business after a series of missteps.

Kwubiri recently spoke with The Associated Press about her new role at H&M and the challenges for the fashion giant, which has more than 4,000 stores globally. The conversation has been edited for clarity and length. (read more)

Cracker Barrel CEO Sandra Cochran leads charge for chain’s racial, LGBTQ inclusivity

sandra cochran

It was so bad at Cracker Barrel in the early aughts that the U.S. Justice Department forced the company into a plan to end discrimination that violated the Civil Rights Act, including turning away black customers.

Even as recently as the 2016 election season, political pundits used the company as shorthand, referring to Cracker Barrel vs. Whole Foods counties. The implication meant rural at best and backward or alienated at worst.

So it was a surprise to many this week when Cracker Barrel came out with a crystal-clear denunciation of LGBTQ discrimination, issuing a strongly worded statement about why it had banned Knoxville pastor Grayson Fritts and his church members from using a Tennessee Cracker Barrel as a meeting place.

“At Cracker Barrel, we work hard to foster a culture that is welcoming and inclusive — we have a zero-tolerance policy for discriminatory treatment or harassment of any sort,” the release said. “We take pride in serving as a home away from home for all guests and in showing our communities and our country that the hospitality we practice is open to everyone.” (read more)

Black Superstars Pitch Adidas Shoes. Its Black Workers Say They’re Sidelined.

addidas image

n the United States, Adidas has built much of its name — and sales — through its association with black superstars. In the 1980s, the seminal hip-hop group Run-DMC gave the company’s sneakers and apparel cultural cachet through its song “My Adidas.” Popular black athletes and entertainers like James Harden, Candace Parker and Kanye West endorse its products.

In April, Adidas announced a new partnership with Beyoncé Knowles. Ms. Knowles posted a photo on Instagram that showed her reclining on a pile of Adidas sneakers and wearing a red Adidas bodysuit. The image was liked more than seven million times.

Black employees at the company’s North American headquarters in Portland, Ore., however, describe a workplace culture that contradicts the brand’s image. Interviews with more than 20 current or former Adidas employees show the company’s predominantly white leadership struggling with issues of race and discrimination. On the campus, known as Adidas Village, the employees say, race is a constant issue, leaving the relatively few black employees often feeling marginalized and sometimes discriminated against. (read more)

Pentagon Celebrates Diversity at LGBT Pride Month Observance

pentagon pride month

The many different backgrounds of those who serve in the military make room for diversity, which makes the country strong, Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth said at the celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month in the Pentagon Center Courtyard.

“Our differences have made us a more effective fighting force,” the senator said. “Diversity leads to more problem solving and more success,” she added during yesterday’s event.

Duckworth was joined by retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith and by Stuart Milk, renowned global LGBT human rights activist and nephew of slain civil rights leader Harvey Milk.

“Bigotry has no place downrange. … It weakens our forces and imperils our nation,” said Duckworth, an Army wounded warrior from the Iraq War.

“Who you are and who you love has no bearing on your ability to defend the country,” she said, noting that it was 50 years ago when the “Stonewall” event evoked change that spilled over to make the U.S. armed forces stronger.

A coalition of CEOs wants to get boards to commit to diversity

CEO diversity advocacy.jpg

  • A coalition of chief executives is trying to get more corporate boards to create diversity plans at U.S. companies, a senior official with the group said Wednesday.
  • “We’re asking CEOs and their boards to commit to annually doing a diversity and inclusion strategic plan,” Tim Ryan, chair of the steering committee for the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion told “Squawk Box” Wednesday.
  • The group has 650 CEOs in over 85 industries supporting its efforts. (click for video)

Drag queen: Performance is a lesson in diversity

drag queen

Matthew Maisano says the show with Balena Canto will go on, despite any opposition to the drag queen reading children’s books at libraries, because the message is too important.

The 29-year-old Delaware County resident will transform into his queen persona to read at Drag Queen Story Hour Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at the Haverford Township Free Library, then again at 4 p.m. Friday, June 28, at the Middletown library.

“I love this like a vocation – to be able to teach children about diversity, self-acceptance, self-love,” he explained.

Maisano, a trained opera singer who also studied education, began performing as Balena Canto two years ago when his friend asked him to participate in a gender-bend opera program in Philadelphia.

He created Balena as a way to combine several loves.

“Whales are my favorite animals,” he said, adding that he and his mom have gone about 20 times. “I’m obsessed with whale watching. Specifically humpback whales, they sing.”

And, in Italian, “balena” means whale and “canto” means “singing or song.” So, Maisano, an Italian American, said the name was a play on that and on “bel canto,” which is an Italian style of operatic singing, meaning “beautiful singing” in that language. (read more)

De Blasio announces new diversity plans for NYC schools

DeBlasio diversity

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a major new push to tackle segregation and improve opportunity for disadvantaged students in city public schools on Monday, though some say he hasn’t gone far enough.

The Department of Education will adopt 62 of 67 proposals recommended by a diversity advisory group, including the implementation of a “culturally responsive” curriculum and targeting schools with poor students for special attention.

The city will add diversity and integration information into school quality reports and require all schools to monitor how they discipline students and develop plans to reduce disparities in how kids are penalized, officials said.

DOE will also establish pilot programs for “diversity targets” for school admissions based on the makeup of each school community. The city will create a “General Assembly” with reps from every high school to develop a student agenda and vote on issues. And the city will look at how Title I – the largest federal aid program for schools – impacts integration.  (read more)

« Older Entries Recent Entries »