Atlanta, GA –– Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder and President of the National Action Network (NAN), declared a temporary victory in the fight against conservative legal activists, as they continue their campaign against affirmative action, economic equality and justice. Standing outside the federal courthouse in Atlanta this morning with Fearless Fund Co-Founders Arian Simone and Ayana Parsons, the civil rights leader noted this was just the first step in an ongoing struggle.

“We came to Atlanta to take a stand against those who seek to undo generations of hard-won civil rights, because this country needs to move forward on equality – not backward,” said Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder and President of NAN. “Today, I am proud to have stood with Arian and Ayana in that courtroom as the judge denied the preliminary injunction, recognizing the weak argument the other side is making. These women started the Fearless Fund as a correction to the historic economic discrimination Black women face. This is a good day for our fight, but we cannot sit back now. We have won round one of this fight but the battle is far from over. The National Action Network will be in Atlanta, in Jacksonville, and in every other city where racism of any kind seeks to pop up its ugly head.”

Tuesday marked the first court appearance for the Fearless Fund since conservative legal advocates filed a lawsuit earlier this summer. The lawsuit specifically targeted its Strivers Grant Contest, which gives $20,000 grants to Black female entrepreneurs, arguing it violates the Civil Rights Act of 1866. The Fearless Fund’s legal team has categorially dismissed these conservatives’ legal argument. The controversial and highly condemned lawsuit is the latest effort to chip away at hard-fought civil rights in Corporate America following the Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College decision. Within weeks of that crushing Supreme Court decision, a group of Republican state Attorneys General fired off a letter threatening Fortune 100 companies that DEI efforts would count as discrimination. Rev. Sharpton swiftly denounced their attempt to capitalize on the decision as a way to peel back initiatives to level the economic playing field for Black and Brown Americans. The case against the Fearless Fund has become a litmus test for right-wing activists attempts to undo diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts. Companies have pledged a combined $340 billion toward racial equity from May 2020 to last October, according to the Brookings Institute, with many of those commitments coming from the financial sector Some pledges made after the 2020 murder of George Floyd have been peeled back as companies come under political pressure, while others have still not lived up to the benchmarks they set for themselves.