African Diaspora Media ‘TANTV’ Stands With Fearless Fund, Demands POTUS Executive Order to Protect DEI Funding

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Arian Simone traveled to Ghana to film her statement on the ruling, pictured with Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo. Source: @ariansimone on Instagram

In a passionate call to action, Arian Simone, Founding Partner and CEO of the Fearless Fund, is urgently appealing to President Biden to take immediate executive steps to safeguard diversity efforts in the wake of a federal court ruling restricting funding for Black women entrepreneurs. Her advocacy has reignited a heated debate around the role of identity-based investment initiatives, and what the reactions from the courts mean for the larger minority-owned business world. 

TANTV stands with Arian Simone’s demand, our CEO, Adedayo Fashanu commented on the injustice dealt towards Black businesses through the courts. 

“As a Black Owned Media entity that has received funds from similar programs such as Fearless Fund, we believe we must speak up and not be a bystander. TANTV stands with Fearless Fund and echoes the demand for the President of the United States to issue an immediate Executive Order to protect DEI & the right to fund specific marginalized groups if and when racial disparities exist, “ she said. 

On June 3rd, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals dealt a major blow by ruling 2-1 to uphold an injunction against the Fearless Fund’s program targeting venture capital for Black women-led businesses. The decision sided with a lawsuit from conservative activist Edward Blum, who claimed the funding model was discriminatory.

Fearless Fund’s mission is to uplift Black women business owners, who have historically been left out of the markets. Simone and her team argue that the court’s decision is an injustice to the work and experience of Black businesswomen. 

On June 10, Simone expressed profound dismay to CNN’s Abby Phillip about the ruling and lack of action from President Biden. Speaking from the grounds of Cape Coast Castle in Ghana, where enslaved Africans were once forcibly held before the trans-Atlantic voyage, “We deserve the right to protect the ability to fund marginalized communities and demographics that can be clearly shown there are racial disparities.,” she stated. “We deserve that. We need an executive order. We need a signal to the DOJ.”

In an Instagram post yesterday, Simone issued an urgent appeal: “SOUND THE ALARM! We are not letting up! Our ASK is for an immediate Executive Order by the President @potus of the United States to protect DEI & the right to fund specific marginalized groups if and when racial disparities exist.” 

The debate around the American court systems has been hot ever since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, and with the Supreme Court overturning the ban on bump stocks this past weekend, the call for executive actions couldn’t be more timely. 

The ruling represents a significant setback for the Atlanta-based Fearless Fund, as now they are no longer able to provide funding to their clients, underscoring the irony of the courts using a law enacted to secure civil rights economically. “They have flipped this law on its head,” she told Phillip. “It was clearly put in place to protect and provide, and now it’s being used, through court systems, as a way to dismantle diversity.”

Simone’s situation with the courts highlights a historical trend that has never really gone away – the court systems are entrenched in systemic racism. A setback like the ruling for Fearless Fund demonstrates how years of work to uplift and connect our communities, can be shot down in an instant. Without the support of President Biden, Simone and her team may be facing a devastating blow to their business. 

But with the 60th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act approaching on July 2nd, and Juneteenth celebrations recognizing Black Americans’ emancipation, the ruling comes in the midst of national celebration of racial progress. With this ruling, the celebrations are hollow as they do not represent the current experience of Black people in the United States. 

“We need new legislation now!” Simone declared on Instagram. “Juneteenth is next week, a symbol of the celebration of freedom post the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade.”

As DEI faces increasing attacks across education and corporations and as a small Black business, TANTV could not more fervently endorse Simone’s strident advocacy to protect initiatives like the Fearless Fund. Her Instagram caption underscores the importance of this ruling: “The world is watching! Be on the right side of history.”

Written by Mia Boykin

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