Underlying lawsuit from Stephen Miller-backed America First Legal targets ‘Hello Alice’ for work combating racial funding disparities via grant awards to Black-owned small businesses
Washington, DC–Today, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), along with the pro bono law firm Crowell Moring LLP, jointly filed an amicus brief in support of Hello Alice, a platform helping to deliver equitable capital to entrepreneurs, in a lawsuit brought by a conservative legal advocacy group alleging a grant program for Black-owned small businesses infringed on the civil rights of non-Black business owners. The underlying program, a partnership between Hello Alice and Progressive Insurance Company, awarded 10 grants to Black-owned small businesses in recognition of the persistent and systemic barriers facing minority-owned businesses attempting to secure capital investments. The Lawyers’ Committee and SPLC were joined in their brief by Asian Americans Advancing Justice and the Hispanic National Bar Association.
The lawsuit from America First Legal, a group formed by former Trump advisor Stephen Miller, follows another recent case brought by American Alliance for Equal Rights against Fearless Fund LLC, a venture capital firm similarly operating a grant program designed to address funding gaps for women of color entrepreneurs. Black-owned small businesses have long struggled to attract investments amid well-documented discrimination in the industry in the U.S. venture capital market.
“At a time when systemic racism continues to pervade the venture capital industry, Stephen Miller’s latest legal crusade is a transparent ploy to fundraise at the expense of Black entrepreneurs simply trying to grow their small businesses,” said Katy Youker, Director for the Economic Justice Project with the Lawyers’ Committee.“We refuse to sit back and let them stifle meaningful efforts to change the status quo by advancing equity and empowering underrepresented voices.”
“This litigation is nothing more than an attack on the efforts to undo our country’s legacy of extreme economic inequality along racial lines, and it is as dangerous to Black entrepreneurs as it is antithetical to the goals of racial justice embedded in the Civil Rights Act of 1866,” said Leslie Faith Jones, Senior Staff Attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center. “We will not simply watch as agents for change are discouraged from building a more equitable society – we will continue working to achieve the promise of civil rights for all.”
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to mobilize the nation’s leading lawyers as agents for change in the Civil Rights Movement. Today, the Lawyers’ Committee uses legal advocacy to achieve racial justice, fighting inside and outside the courts to ensure that Black people and other people of color have the voice, opportunity, and power to make the promises of our democracy real. For more information, please visit https://lawyerscommittee.org.
The Southern Poverty Law Center is a catalyst for racial justice in the South and beyond, working in partnership with communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements, and advance the human rights of all people. For more information, visit www.splcenter.org.