A federal court judge shortened a significant win for Fearless Fund.
As AFROTECH previously reported, U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Thrash had ruled in favor of Fearless Fund founders Arian Simone (CEO) and Ayana Parsons (COO). In August 2023, they were accused by Edward Blum and his American Alliance for Equal Rights group of “explicit racial exclusion” by creating a grant program dedicated solely to Black women, per The Washington Post.
“Women of color continue to face significant barriers in obtaining access to capital,” Parsons and Simone said in a statement, per the outlet. “We are very pleased with the court’s decision to deny” the “plaintiff’s attempt to shut down our grant program and look forward to continuing to advance our critical mission.”
In a quick turn of events, Fearless Fund is faced with opposition after a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit blocked the venture from moving forward with awarding funds to Black women on Saturday, Sept. 30, per another article by The Washington Post. The decision stemmed from the panel’s belief that the program was “racially exclusionary” and “substantially likely” to counter a law that does not permit racial discrimination in contracting.
“The members of the American Alliance for Equal Rights are gratified that the 11th Circuit has recognized the likelihood that the Fearless Strivers Grant Contest is illegal,” Blum said in a statement Saturday, according to The Washington Post. “We look forward to the final resolution of this lawsuit.”
Another panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit will deliberate on whether or not to prevent Fearless Fund from providing grant money through its Fearless Strivers Grant Content until the case is determined in district court. The injunction is temporary until an official ruling is declared by the separate panel.
“We respectfully disagree with this court’s decision, appreciate the important points raised by the dissent, and look forward to further appellate review,” Jason Schwartz, a lawyer representing the Fearless Fund, said, according to The Washington Post. “We remain committed to defending our clients’ meaningful work.”
The fight isn’t over. This is merely the beginning. Parsons echoed this during REVOLT WORLD, pointing out that Blum’s efforts are focused on more targets than just Fearless Fund. He is interested in stopping “other diversity programs” as well.
“He’s trying to eliminate all of that… So that’s why I often tell people you might see the news and think, ‘Oh, that’s too bad for those Black women,’ expressed Parsons, according to REVOLT. “He’s coming for us. He’s coming for everything Black, and we must fight back, and we must stand up.”