© Reuters. Legal professional Ben Crump, Fearless Fund co-partners Arian Simone, Ayana Parsons, Lead counsel Mylan Denerstein and Co-Counsel Alphonso David pose for an image on the finish of a press convention in New York, U.S., August 10, 2023. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
By Nate Raymond
(Reuters) -The founders of a enterprise capital fund dedicated to funding Black women-owned companies on Thursday defended their efforts to help underrepresented entrepreneurs within the face of a lawsuit by a conservative activist accusing it of racial discrimination.
The Fearless Fund’s leaders and its legal professionals throughout a information convention in New York pledged to struggle a lawsuit filed final week by a distinguished affirmative motion opponent who led the profitable U.S. Supreme Court docket problem to the consideration of race in school admissions to advertise range.
The lawsuit was by the American Alliance for Equal Rights, a bunch based by activist Edward Blum, who via one other group pursued the circumstances towards Harvard College and College of North Carolina that led the Supreme Court docket in June to finish affirmative motion in larger training.
“We aren’t scared,” Arian Simone, the chief government and co-founder of the Atlanta-based Fearless Fund, mentioned. “We’re fearless.”
Based on the Fearless Fund, girls of coloration enterprise founders in 2022 acquired solely 0.39% of the $288 billion that enterprise capital corporations deployed. The fund goals to treatment that and counts as buyers JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:), Financial institution of America (NYSE:) and MasterCard.
The information convention was a part of the fund’s first public response to the lawsuit, which alleged it unlawfully allowed solely Black girls small enterprise house owners to be eligible for a contest that awards $20,000 in grants and different assets.
“I feel it will be a stretch to elucidate why Hispanic and Native American girls should not eligible, in addition to Asian and white girls,” Blum mentioned on Thursday.
Alphonso David, a civil rights lawyer who has joined Fearless Fund’s protection, criticized the lawsuit’s “cynical” declare that the fund violated Part 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866. The regulation, barring racial bias in personal contracts, was adopted after slavery was abolished within the U.S. Civil Struggle’s aftermath.
“This can be a frivolous try to stop progress from successful,” mentioned Ben Crump, a distinguished civil rights lawyer and member of the protection group, which is led by the regulation agency Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.