Henrietta Lacks Estate Files Lawsuit, Wall Street Sees Profits and Diversity in Accounting

In Summary

 “In the Black” takes a look at changes in the stock market, a historic wrong being righted, as well as efforts for inclusion in accounting.

There was a decent amount of profit-taking on Wall Street, the Dow was down more than 323 points, to close at 34,002. The S&P was down about 56.5 points to end the day at 4,300, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq took a beating, down more than 311 points to settle at more than 14,255. 

The estate of Henrietta Lacks filed a suit against Thermo Fisher Scientific, stating the biotech company mass-produced and sold tissue grown from her cervical cells without her knowledge or consent.  

The harvesting of the dying Black woman’s cells happened at Johns Hopkins Hospital back in 1951. The family wants to be compensated for the use of the immortal HeLa cells, named after her.  

Related: Henrietta Lacks’ Estate Sues Scientific Company Over Misuse of Her Cells

This year marks the 100th anniversary of when the first Black man, John W. Cromwell Jr., became a certified public accountant in America. The face of the new generation of CPAs has changed since then. Thalia Smith, a partner at Deloitte & Touche, joins “BNC Live” with Laverne McGee to talk about the company’s newest initiative addressing diversity and promoting inclusivity. 

“Back in June we announced MADE, which stands for Making Accounting Diverse and Equitable, which is our commitment to generate more career opportunities and leadership pathways for Black and Brown youth and professionals for the next generation of accountants we realize that in order for change to come,” Smith said. “We need a decisive, comprehensive and targeted action to be taken, and so we’re really excited about the significant investment we’re making.” 

Smith goes on to add that they are focusing efforts on addressing the biggest barriers to having greater diversity in the in the accounting profession. 

“One thing that is very true is that teams made up of diverse, inclusive professionals are more powerful, and accountants are in a position to impact important business decisions that can drive positive outcomes, not just for the diverse individuals but for organizations, for the economy and for society as a whole,” Smith added. 

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