ATLANTA — A federal judge on Tuesday blocked a request from the American Alliance for Equal Rights, a conservative group headed by activist Edward Blum, for a preliminary injunction which sought to prevent the Atlanta-based Fearless Fund from considering applications for grants only from businesses led by Black women.
According to the ruling, the decision by U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash was made with one assertion: That Fearless’ charitable grant program was a form of speech protected by the Constitution’s First Amendment.
Blum’s group; the American Alliance for Equal Rights, says the ruling “would obliterate nondiscrimination law.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the Rev. Al Sharpton, activist and founder of the New York-based National Action Network, hosted a rally outside of the Richard B. Russell Federal Building pledging his support behind the right to support the Black community.
“We are not trying to discriminate; we’re trying to correct historic discrimination,” Sharpton said.
Blum has filed an appeal asserting that the Fearless Fund, by supporting only Black-women owned businesses, excludes other races based upon Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, a federal law that forbids racial bias in private contracts.
“We realize there is still a long road ahead, but today we remain fearless and steadfast in creating pathways that empower women of color entrepreneurs,” Arian Simone, Fearless Fund president and CEO, and Ayana Parsons, chief operating officer, said in a joint statement.
The Fearless Fund to date has deployed over $26 million to businesses owned by Black women and women of color-owned businesses. They have also deployed over 350 grants to women of color. Simone promised the Fearless Fund will continue to deploy grants. Additionally, the Fearless Fund counts JPMorgan Chase), Bank of America, and MasterCard as investors.
“I know that the Fearless Fund is the foundation and the incredible work that we have done will continue to go on,” Parsons said. “And we will continue to be covered, I just want to thank you. Thank you for investing in us and investing in women of color so that we can do this incredible work.”
This story originally appeared here, on The Atlanta Voice website.