The conservative legal strategist that took down affirmative action is now targeting the Fearless Fund, a venture capital firm that backs start-ups led by women of color.
While we’d prefer to live in a world where injustice is not the focal point, we’ve got to face the music together as a collective if we want to make sustainable change. The thing is – for communities of color who face systemic and social barriers to growth and fundamental rights regularly, there is no option to turn away. So instead, we’ve turned toward each other, boldly designing new blueprints where we can lift each other up. At #WeAllGrow Latina, this strategy is what fuels us day in and day out, and we hold other organizations taking parallel action close to our heart.
Communities of color have created innovative initiatives that have proven powerful, like the Fearless Fund – an Atlanta-based venture capital fund on a mission to bridge the gap in venture capital funding for Women of Color founders. The Fearless Fund founders Ayana Parsons and Arian Simone, both Black women with a wealth of business experience, birthed the Fearless Fund out of a commitment to become the investors they needed when they originally embarked on their entrepreneurial journeys. And they have successfully done so by awarding over $3 million in small grants to 346 businesses since their inception.
It seems initiatives such as these feel threatening to the forces at play who have benefitted from our oppression for centuries. Desperate and vindictive, these forces are trying to tear down what our communities have courageously built. One major player – conservative legal strategist Edward Blum and his legal organization American Alliance for Equal Rights (AAFER) have embarked on a crusade to preserve systemic racial inequities. In fact, he was behind the high-profile cases, Students for Fair Admissions — the case that ended affirmative action in college admissions in June, and Shelby County v. Holder, the landmark decision gutting the Voting Rights Act.
Their latest target is the Fearless Fund. But here’s the thing – the math isn’t math-ing. While $3 million is no small feat for this venture capital firm, Fearless Fund is a dent in the monstrous venture capital world that overlooks founders of color. In fact, the data shows that Black and Latino founders received just 1 percent of venture capital funds disbursed in the U.S. in 2022. Still, AAFER is suing the Fearless Fund, accusing it of racial bias in private contracts because it offers grants to start-ups run by Black women – specifically their Fearless Strivers Grant, which awards four Black women small business owners $20,000, digital tools, and mentorships to scale their businesses.
We’re sounding the alarm because the action is a clear attempt to see how far he can go with eliminating diversity initiatives. If successful, it poses a dangerous legal precedent for any industry that considers racial diversity. This is an attack on DEI programs and women of color, and we take this personally as a company that provides grants and business opportunities specifically for the Latine community.
Numbers show that 92% of males make up executive roles at venture capital firms with 78% of those males being white, so it’s clear who has a leg up in the proverbial race. Still, our communities have fought relentlessly to plant seeds and grow gardens against all odds, so we refuse to allow Blum’s actions to deter our crecimiento. We stand alongside Arian Simone and Ayana Parsons in stopping his efforts, and invite you to do the same! Together, we can create a world where people in power accurately represent the diversity that exists on this planet.