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Rev. Sharpton, Marc Morial lead largest protest yet outside of Bill Ackman’s office in fight to preserve DEI

National Action Network, National Urban League’s Joint Demonstration Continues Juneteenth Celebrations amid Ongoing Attacks Against Diversity

Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder and President of the National Action Network (NAN), joined with Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League, and New York City and State elected officials for their largest demonstration yet outside the Manhattan offices of hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman. The 24th straight week of protests comes as Ackman continues to lead the crusade against diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, which have been under attack by right-wing legal activists. 

“Bill Ackman has the audacity to bemoan DEI and demonize Black women in leadership while sitting on his billions, so we will commemorate Juneteenth this year at his office,” said Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder and President of NAN. “Meanwhile, women of color entrepreneurs receive only a fraction of a percent of venture capital funding. It’s unconscionable that he profits from a system that disadvantages people of color and other historically marginalized communities while preaching his phony dogma of fairness and equality. With the fate of DEI hanging in the balance, I’d like to hear from Ackman about what he thinks the solution is for the massive disparity in VC funding directed to Black women entrepreneurs and his track record of investing in people of color.”

“Bill Ackman’s relentless racist and sexist campaign to discredit Harvard President Claudine Gay and drive her from office was just the first salvo in a larger crusade to keep the gates of authority and influence locked tight against Black women and other marginalized people,” said Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League

The two national civil rights leaders urged business leaders and elected officials to step off the sidelines and use their influence and power to defend the Fearless Fund, the Fearless Foundation, and others whose vital work is threatened by this ongoing lawsuit. The organizations, along with the NAACP and a host of other civil rights groups, have decried the three-judge panel’s decision to keep the injunction against the Fearless Foundation’s Fearless Strivers Grant, which awarded $20,000 to women of color who have launched businesses. The decision will serve as a harbinger for the organization to award grants to the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in recent years. 

The fight to protect the Fearless Fund and Fearless Foundation has become the focal point in the greater effort to preserve DEI. A 2023 McKinsey report found Fortune 1000 companies committed billions of dollars to DEI after the murder of George Floyd, yet later pledges became less specific and harder to attack. Ackman meanwhile has become the face of the anti-DEI effort, bolstering the efforts of right-wing legal advocates who pounced on the policy after the Supreme Court gutted affirmative action last June. Ackman has since reportedly used his newfound level of fame, built on his attacks on then-Harvard President Claudine Gay, to entertain taking his hedge fund public.

About National Action Network (NAN)  

National Action Network is one of the leading civil rights organizations in the Nation with chapters throughout the entire United States. Founded in 1991 by Reverend Al Sharpton, NAN works within the spirit and tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to promote a modern civil rights agenda that includes the fight for one standard of justice, decency and equal opportunities for all people regardless of race, religion, nationality or gender.  

For more information go to www.nationalactionnetwork.net.

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