Federal Appeals Court Temporarily Blocks Fearless Fund From Exclusively Serving Black Women Entrepreneurs

Emma Grede and Arian Simone speak during the Fearless Fund Third Annual Fearless Venture Capital Summit at Atlanta Symphony Hall on August 18, 2023, in Atlanta, Georgia. | Source: Prince Williams / Getty

America is and has always been a nation of lies and hypocrisy controlled and/or influenced by liars and hypocrites.

It’s why the Founding Fathers were able to tout this nation as a land of freedom and liberty for all while literally owning people as property. It’s why white conservatives downplay slavery until it’s time to point out that Democrats enabled it while ignoring the glaring fact that it’s Republicans who run virtually all the states that fought for slavery. It’s why they can write legislation banning critical race theory without knowing what CRT is. And it’s why conservatives attack anything that even gives off a whiff of affirmative action, with the exception of affirmative action for white people, including but not limited to legacy admissions.

In fact, white people won’t even let Black entities help our own through anything they think is affirmative action without going out of their way to mind our business.

Last week, we reported that a federal judge in Atlanta ruled that the Fearless Fund, a venture capital firm founded by Black women, can continue offering a grant program exclusively to entrepreneurial Black women after the firm was sued by Edward Blum, the white nationalist in activist clothing who once represented Abigail Fisher, the white woman who thought affirmative action was why she wasn’t accepted into the college of her choice when, in truth, she simply hadn’t earned it. (But it’s about meritocracy, right?)

Unfortunately, it turns out the Black women responsible for the grant program, Arian Simone and Ayana Parsons, still have a fight on their hands now that an appeals court has blocked them from continuing their initiative to help the underserved Black women and women of color who are business owners.

According to Reuters, on Saturday, a federal appeals court blocked the Fearless Fund’s grant program from moving forward. Andsurprise, surpriseall it took for that to happen was a couple of Donald Trump-appointed Republican judges to have their say.

From Reuters:

The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on a 2-1 vote granted a request by Edward Blum’s American Alliance for Equal Rights to temporarily block Fearless Fund from considering applications for grants only from businesses led by Black women.

Blum’s group asked the court to do so while it appealed a judge’s Tuesday ruling denying it a preliminary injunction blocking Fearless Fund from moving forward with its “racially exclusive program.” Grant applications were due Saturday.

The judges in the majority, U.S. Circuit Judges Robert Luck and Andrew Brasher, agreed with Blum’s group that Fearless Fund’s “racially exclusionary” grant program likely violated Section 1981 of the 1866 Civil Rights Act, a Civil War-era law that bars racial bias in contracting.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash earlier this week concluded that under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment’s free speech protections, Fearless Fund had a right to express its belief in the importance of Black women to the economy through charity.

But the appeals court’s majority, comprised of two appointees of Republican former President Donald Trump, said the First Amendment “does not give the defendants the right to exclude persons from a contractual regime based on race.”

Let’s just think about this for a second: The 1866 Civil Rights Act was primarily created so that Black people would be able to enjoy the civil liberties promised to all Americans after slavery, an institution that, among other white supremacist atrocities, prevented Black people from earning and passing down generational wealth and building our own legacies, which is crucial to why affirmative action for Black people was needed in the first place. Now, white people are leaning on that same law on behalf of other white people in order to prevent Black people from helping to build new Black legacies. Conservative judges decided that the First Amendment “does not give the defendants the right to exclude persons from a contractual regime based on race,” knowing that the amendment absolutely did allow it for 400 years. It’s insidious as hell, but it’s also very American.

And people who understand how America operates know that without affirmative action, opportunities will inevitably default to benefitting white people overwhelmingly. And grants offered by venture capitalist firms are no different.

More from Reuters:

According to the Fearless Fund, businesses owned by Black women in 2022 received less than 1% of the $288 billion that venture capital firms deployed.

The fund aims to address that disparity, and counts JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and MasterCard as investors. It has invested nearly $27 million in 40 businesses led by minority women since its founding in 2019.

It also provides grants, and Blum’s lawsuit took aim at its Fearless Strivers Grant Contest, which awards Black women who own small businesses $20,000 in grants and other resources to grow their businesses.

Reuters also noted that this lawsuit “is one of three that Blum’s Texas-based group has filed since August challenging grant and fellowship programs designed by the venture capital fund and two law firms to help give Black, Hispanic and other underrepresented minority groups greater career opportunities.”

But don’t worry, Blum and other white conservatives like him will certainly be there to tell “Black, Hispanic and other underrepresented minority groups” to get off welfare, pull themselves up by their bootstraps and stop relying on the white man for handouts.

Again, lies and hypocrisy—that’s what this nation’s true legacy is. 


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