Supporting Black-owned businesses to drive economic development 

Sustaining progress on racial equity in a rapidly changing legal environment

Friday, June 21, 2024, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. EDT

Following the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, many activists called for greater investments toward racial equity, especially in businesses, to build Black wealth and narrow the racial wealth gap. Private and public investors listened. As of October of 2022, companies pledged about $340 billion toward racial equity efforts. However, in the wake of persistent legal attacks on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts, there have been a spate of court cases across the U.S. in which litigators are challenging race-based business investment programs, including cases against the Small Business Association’s 8(a) program and the venture capital firm, The Fearless Fund.  

On June 21, Brookings Metro, in collaboration with the Path to 15|55 initiative, which endeavors to grow the percentage of Black-owned employer firms, will host an event to discuss what this proliferation of litigation means for Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurship. Senior Fellow Andre Perry will present new data that demonstrates the opportunity in bolstering Black-owned businesses to drive economic development. Then, CapEQ President and CEO Tynesia Boyea-Robinson will moderate a dynamic panel to dive deeper into these challenges and discuss how policymakers and the philanthropic sector should respond to these attacks to keep Black businesses growing in a dynamically changing legal environment. 

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The Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036

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