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Following on from recent attacks on Black equity and innovation, Black Innovation Alliance (BIA) has launched its “Clapback” campaign to galvanize the community and stand up for equity and inclusion for Black innovators.
It comes after a recent Supreme Court Decision repealing affirmative action and a conservative legal assault on Black-owned businesses. BIA – a burgeoning coalition of organizations supporting 300,000-plus entrepreneurs, innovators, and creatives – says it’s spearheading this unapologetic campaign to send a clear message against any reversals or backsliding in the long arc of racial justice.
The phrase “clap back” is meant to evoke hip-hop culture and the fast art of the emcee battle. The Black community is viewed as a soft target of exploitation, and the Black Innovation Alliance is poised to resist. The 90-day “Clapback” will fight the negative stigma often assigned to Blackness, rally allies, and grow collective power and solidarity amongst Black people and businesses.
The 90-day campaign asserts five principles: (1) We do not live in a color-blind, race-neutral society; (2) The legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation lives on; (3) While we’ve come a long way, and we have a long way to go; (4) Racial equity is necessary to advance; (5) We won’t stop until equal opportunity is achieved. The project is a truth voyage to explore the historic inequities and deplorable past creating the present conditions and barriers to the American dream.
“We and our members are standing strong and fighting back, on behalf of the millions of Black people innovators, to unapologetically clap back against disinformation surrounding equity and Black entrepreneurship,” shared Kelly Burton, CEO of Black Innovation Alliance. “Through our new campaign, we will methodically show how these recent attempts to rewrite history are shams. It’s time to pull back the curtain on the real state of affairs facing Black entrepreneurs, along with the Black community more broadly in terms of the racial wealth gap and systemic racism.”
After the Supreme Court declared this June in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College that affirmative action is unconstitutional for higher education admissions, law firms began signaling that companies should “review” their diversity programs. Attorney generals from thirteen states have now threatened Fortune 100 CEOs with “serious legal consequences” if race is taken into consideration in hiring practices. Most recently, equity efforts seeking to address generational discrimination endured by Black people and communities of color, including the work of the Fearless Fund, are targets of lawsuits intended to intimidate the entire business community and impact-focused efforts.
All of this occurs in an environment where the data shows that while Black Americans represent 13 percent of the United States population, 2.3% of US business, and account for only 1 percent of venture capital funding–and dollars are rolling back as we speak. Despite being the fastest-growing entrepreneurial demographic, Black founders and entrepreneurs continue to face barriers woven into the very fabric of this nation.
Black Innovation Alliance (BIA) is a coalition of 116 member organizations closing the racial wealth gap by building pathways that provide equitable access to resources, knowledge, and opportunities to Black entrepreneurs, tech founders, and creative technologists.