Did you know about this?
The Fearless Fund, an Atlanta-based venture capital firm, is under attack in federal court over its efforts to support Black women business owners. A lawsuit, filed in August by the American Alliance for Equal Rights, alleges that by giving its $20,000 Striver’s Grants specifically to Black women entrepreneurs, the Fearless Fund is violating a provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 barring racial discrimination in contracts.
The venture capital firm won this fight in September when U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Thrash ruled in its favor. But the alliance, run by affirmative action foe Ed Blum, turned to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and, at the end of that month, a three-judge panel blocked Fearless Fund from awarding the grants. Fearless Fund appealed that decision and now a three-judge 11th Circuit panel will hold an expedited hearing in Miami on Jan. 31.
So what is this about, really? Why go after this small venture capital firm over the way it distributes what amounts to a very tiny share of the $200 billion global venture capital market?
Because a whole lot more is at stake, that’s why.
Here’s how Arian Simone, general partner of Fearless Fund, explained it in a recent Instagram post:
“In the event we were to lose, what is at stake is anything that is race-based,” Simone said. That would open the door to undoing a range of programs, she said, from minority grants to HBCUs to scholarships. She appealed for Three P’s from supporters: Pens, Prayer and Paper. Pens to sign petitions, paper as in money, and prayer because … hey, it changes things.
“The people who are suing us have billions of dollars to back their cause,” Simone said. “We need billions of dollars to back our cause. … This takes your voice, your pen and your paper.”
If you didn’t know how big of a bonanza Election 2023 was Black women aspiring to elective office, this video by our friends at Sisters Lead, Sisters Vote illustrates it beautifully. Black women brought the thunder to the polls, especially at the state and local levels.
Take a moment to bask in the glow, compare the results to our curtain-raiser below, and get ready to elect even more in 2024!