Rev. Al Sharpton Heads To Atlanta To Lend Support To Fearless Fund Co-Founders
In a resolute stand against efforts to undermine affirmative action and diversity initiatives, Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder and President of the National Action Network, is making his presence felt in Atlanta.
The veteran civil rights leader headed to the southern city Sept. 26 to extend his support to Fearless Fund co-founders Arian Simone and Ayana Parsons. The women have faced legal action and scrutiny initiated by conservative activists due to their organization’s financial support for Black women entrepreneurs.
This lawsuit, marked by controversy and widespread condemnation, represents a disturbing trend aiming to erode the hard-won civil rights gains achieved in Corporate America. It follows the contentious Supreme Court ruling in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College. Soon after this decision, a group of Republican Attorney Generals issued a letter threatening Fortune 100 companies, warning them that their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts might be perceived as discrimination.
Rev. Sharpton had expressed concerns when the Supreme Court weakened affirmative action, anticipating that right-wing fundamentalists would redirect their focus toward Corporate America. Their legal action against the Fearless Fund, an organization working to level the playing field for Black female entrepreneurs, confirms these fears. Some conservative activists are willing to dismantle any opportunities for Black and Brown Americans to attain the American Dream. In response, the National Action Network has organized a rally in Atlanta to stand up against these forces seeking to suppress progress.
Notably, after the June Supreme Court decision, anti-affirmative action activists filed a lawsuit against the Fearless Fund in a District Court in Atlanta. The case specifically targeted the Strivers Grant Contest, which provides $20,000 grants to Black female entrepreneurs, alleging that it violates the Civil Rights Act of 1866. The legal team representing the Fearless Fund has categorically rejected this argument put forth by conservatives.
Today, NAN leads a rally to support the Fearless Fund and its co-founders, standing alongside their legal team and other supporters. This legal battle is a critical test for right-wing activists seeking to dismantle DEI efforts. From May 2020 to October last year, companies pledged $340 billion towards racial equity, with a significant portion of these commitments coming from the financial sector. Some pledges made following the 2020 murder of George Floyd have been retracted due to political pressures, while others have yet to meet the benchmarks they set for themselves.
The rally, led by Rev. Al Sharpton, sends a powerful message that efforts to curtail diversity and inclusion initiatives will not go unchallenged.