DEI Response: Stay up to date with the latest legal and corporate challenges

The big comeback is here. The phrase refers to Big Tech starting to cut some of the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs that were implemented shortly after the killing of George Floyd. Recently, Zoom announced that it fired his DEI team. Google and Meta have began to defund their DEI programs and funding of black founders continues to sink. Lawsuits have been submitted targeting DEI programs, forcing companies to now hide their inclusion efforts while they are billionaires they argue on X on whether DEI’s initiatives are discriminatory or not.

It is clear that this year will be a turning point for DEI, especially as a state continue with the ban affirmative action measures and with presidential elections just around the corner. Here are all the stories you need to read to stay up-to-date on developments in tech’s current reaction to DEI.

This list will be updated, so keep checking back.

Read about the AAER lawsuit against the Fearless Fund

In August 2023, the American Alliance for Equal Rights (AAER), founded by Edward Blum, the man who helped overturn affirmative action in education, filed a lawsuit against the Fearless Fund for offering jobs support for black women. The AAER argued that the scholarship discriminated against white and Asian-American founders. Fund and AAER are fighting the case in courtand currently, Fearless Fund is forbidden more than awarding scholarships to black women.

On InstagramArian Simone, executive director of the Fund, said the lawsuit has financially hurt fund, as it lost millions in contingent liabilities and faced layoffs, low cash, expensive legal bills and threatening letters. The impact of the lawsuit, however, could go much deeper than affecting just one fund and could have ripple effects throughout the ecosystem.

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But Fearless Fund is not the only one sued. Small Business Administration, Minority Business Development Agency and even smaller companies like Hello Alice are targeted and sued for trying to implement various grant schemes.

Read what critics are saying about DEI

The anti-DEI rhetoric has increased dramatically. Many big names in entrepreneurship, such as Elon Musk, Peter Thiel and Y Combinator founder Paul Graham, have shared sentiments against DEI, while only a few, such as Mark Cuban, have expressed support for it. This divide will persist and only deepen as billionaires continue to wield their power—and influence— that their opinion is heard.

At the same time, there are many who are really trying to change and become more inclusive. However, change takes time, and some of the promises have not been fulfilled.

Read how governments deal with DEI

California passed a law last year that will soon require venture capital firms in the state reveal the collapse of diversity the founders they support. Some are heralding the bill as a breakthrough in a notoriously opaque industry.

However, California is is not the only country that wants to solve the problem of diversity. Massachusetts wants to pass a bill that would expand workplace laws to the entrepreneurial industry; New York City venture firms gathered informally create an alliance that will support more diversity. There is excitement about these initiatives, but also some reluctance.

Representative Emanuel Cleaver, who is co-chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, was trying to pass a bill in Congress that would tender investment more transparent. He hit a roadblock and said several educational institutions in the country were downright «unfriendly» to him and his efforts.

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DEI has become a flash point of trouble in red states as many have banned affirmative action measures. Many tech hubs are really just blue towns, meaning more liberal-leaning cities within red or more conservative-leaning states. These include Tulsa, Atlanta, Miami and Austin, all of which are on leading the way in helping technology become more accessible to people outside the Bay Area. But will their ruling states put a dagger in all that progress?

Governor Ron DeSantis, for example, is a leader in adoption of anti-DEI measures. From book bans to speech restrictions, he is also one of a handful of governors targeting ESG investing, proposing a move that could affect various fund managers in the state of Florida.

On a national level, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) tried to find out more about what’s happening in tech. He recently wrote letters to OpenAI and the Department of Labor to see how the tech industry wants to support black talent at this time.

OpenAI actually is to answer to CBC, and we found out what happened next.

Read the latest DEI funding information

Funding for black founders has continued to decline since 2020, and last year was no different.

Read the position of DEI from abroad

Industries abroad view of the states, including when it comes to how marginalized founders are treated. Stay up-to-date on how global entrepreneurial ecosystems are handling DEI and what it says about progress in the US

France is notorious a tricky ecosystem for black founders. Find out how the country fares in one of the most opaque venture landscapes for people of color.

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Meanwhile, Great Britain has made a lot of money progress In a relationship financing black founders.

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