Fearless Fund, an Atlanta-based venture capital firm, finds itself embroiled in a legal battle to protect its mission to support business women of color. Led by Arian Simone, the Fearless Fund entered the investment space in 2019 with a noble mission—to bridge the funding gap by investing in businesses led by women of color. The firm was so successful that the American Alliance for Equal Rights took notice and promptly filed a lawsuit alleging that Fearless Fund engages in racial discrimination because the fund is exclusively for Black women.
The lawsuit is spearheaded by Edward Blum, the driving force behind the fight to end affirmative action in college admissions, which proved successful in July. The current legal challenge against Fearless Fund raises questions about the intersection of affirmative action and the broader landscape of business funding, particularly for underrepresented groups.
In response to these allegations, Fearless Fund’s CEO and co-founder, Arian Simone, provided insights in an interview with BET.com.
“There is an anti-American campaign that is going on: Roe vs. Wade (abortion rights), affirmative action overruled, and now minority funding is under attack. So there’s a bigger plan at play,” Arian told BET.com. ” It’s like a shirt with a string, Roe v. Wade, being pulled. Then, you pull another string, affirmative action. And as you keep pulling strings, the shirt is undone – stopping millions and billions of dollars from getting into the hands of people of color. This lawsuit is a defining moment. They’re trying to create a precedent and use this case as a baseline.”
In September, a group of federal appellate judges issued a temporary block on The Fearless Fund’s distribution of $20,000 grants to Black female entrepreneurs. The judges contended that the program was deemed “racially exclusionary” and had a substantial likelihood of violating federal laws prohibiting racial discrimination in contracting.
In a demonstration of solidarity, the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council (NMSDC) publicly joined The Fearless Fund in a fundraising effort, the #WeAreAllFearless campaign.
Perhaps we can take a lesson from Edward Blum’s audacity and confidence in using his energy to attempt to reverse the social programs designed to counteract the blatant racial obstructions created in our country’s history. If he can do anything he can, and use his full will and force to drag Black people back down, then all women should use our full will, force and privilege to ensure that he does not succeed. #WEAreAllFearless
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