Statement on the 11th Circuit Court’s Ruling Against the Fearless Fund

The recent decision by the 11th Circuit Courts to reverse the lower court’s ruling and block the Fearless Fund from issuing grants to Black women entrepreneurs is not just a legal setback – it is an outrage and a direct assault on economic justice and the fight against persistent racial and gender inequities in America.

Black entrepreneurs, especially Black women entrepreneurs, are the backbone of innovation and resilience in our economy. Yet, they continue to face barriers that limit their potential. In 2022, women-founded companies received a pitiful 1.9 percent of venture capital (VC) funds, and an abysmal 0.1 percent went to founders of color, according to McKinsey & Company. Programs like the Fearless Fund’s grant contest represent hope and opportunity for these entrepreneurs who have historically been denied access to the capital and resources needed to thrive in today’s business environment.   

The group behind this attack on the Fearless Fund, has revealed its true motives: a desire to maintain inequality and crush the dreams of those daring to reach beyond imposed barriers. This court decision highlights a growing hostility towards Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives.

We stand firmly with the Fearless Fund. We support Fearless Fund’s legal battle and will continue to champion the rights of Black entrepreneurs. DEI is not a trend, but a fundamental necessity for a just and equitable society. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.’  We cannot be silent, as too much is at stake in the fight for equality and economic justice.

We hope that when this case is finally resolved, our justice system will rule on the side of equity, reaffirming the principles of fairness and inclusion. This fight is far from over, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to justice.

Be Steadfast!

Lenwood V. Long, Sr, Chief Executive Officer – African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs