Fashion Mingle Luncheon Event Hello Alice

Grant Programs for Women and People of Color Under Attack by Former Trump Administration Official 

In Fashion & Culture, Fashion Features, Legal, Politics by Melissa Shea

In the vibrant realm of entrepreneurship, where dreams take flight and innovations find their wings, Hello Alice stands as a beacon for aspiring business owners. Nestled at the intersection of technology and ambition, Hello Alice is a dynamic platform dedicated to fostering inclusivity, providing resources, and championing the entrepreneurial spirit.

Founded on the belief that every entrepreneur, regardless of background, deserves an equal opportunity to thrive, Hello Alice has carved a niche for itself as a catalyst for positive change in the business landscape. The platform, as described on its website at helloalice.com, is a robust ecosystem designed to empower small business owners with the tools, guidance, and connections needed to transform ideas into successful ventures.

Fashion Mingle has attended Hello Alice conferences and went through their Accelerator program, greatly benefiting from the expertise and inspiration from those experiences with the platform. At Fashion Mingle, our mission is to assist the most creative individuals on the planet in finding business opportunities and work that are as unique and diverse as they are, ultimately changing the way fashion does business. We firmly believe in creating a more inclusive representation within the fashion industry, and we are making significant strides towards achieving this goal through opportunities like our luncheons, webinars, and events that bring together people from all backgrounds, genders, and cultures in the fashion industry.

Hello Alice and other organizations like them are now under attack.

America First Legal (AFL), led by Stephen Miller of the Trump Administration and Jonathan Mitchell, has filed class action lawsuits against Starbucks, Target, American airline companies and many other organizations that support diversity and inclusivity. AFL is now suing Hello Alice and Progressive Insurance Company on behalf of a White-owned trucking company. The lawsuit alleges that Hello Alice and Progressive engaged in racial discrimination by administering a grant program that exclusively offered $25,000 grants to ten Black-owned small businesses for the purchase of commercial vehicles. The plaintiffs claim that by not extending the grants to White-owned businesses, Hello Alice and Progressive violated civil rights.

This lawsuit is part of a broader strategy employed by AFL, which has previously filed similar suits against programs benefiting Native American, Latino, and Black small business owners. In some instances, these legal actions have resulted in the termination of funding for U.S. Veteran-owned businesses, such as the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

AFL contends that its efforts are aimed at combating what it perceives as racially discriminatory practices under the guise of “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” initiatives. According to AFL, these initiatives are mere “gentle-sounding euphemisms” concealing an agenda of social engineering, Marxist dehumanization, and overt racism and sexism.

Hello Alice has responded to the allegations by submitting a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The company strongly disagrees with the legal theory behind the suit and argues that the grant program was a voluntary, private-sector effort to address racial inequalities in access to capital. Hello Alice outlines four legal arguments in its motion, any of which it believes is sufficient for the court to dismiss the case.

  • Gratuitous Donation: Hello Alice asserts that the grant program was a gratuitous, altruistic donation, not enforceable as a contract under Ohio law. Therefore, the plaintiffs cannot claim that any race-based consideration was unlawful.
  • First Amendment Protection: The company argues that the First Amendment protects its right to express disapproval of existing racial inequalities through the grant program. Recent Supreme Court precedent, according to Hello Alice, makes it clear that general public accommodation laws cannot compel them to alter the program’s content.
  • Voluntary Affirmative Action Program: Hello Alice contends that the law the plaintiffs have sued under does not apply to voluntary, private-sector affirmative action programs when there is a manifest racial imbalance. The grant program, designed to address imbalances faced by Black entrepreneurs, is deemed lawful under Supreme Court precedent.

Hello Alice urges support from individuals and businesses to defend the American Dream. The company asserts that the lawsuit is part of a larger effort to attack private-sector initiatives aimed at remedying the lingering effects of racism on the American economy.

While awaiting the District Court’s resolution, Hello Alice remains hopeful that the court will dismiss the complaint and uphold the grant program as lawful. The case raises important questions about the intersection of private-sector initiatives, affirmative action, and the ongoing struggle for equality in America.

Join the fight and share this hashtag #ElevateTheAmericanDream with a picture of your business and tag us at @fashionmingle and @helloalice_com

 

About Melissa Shea

Melissa Shea is the co-founder of Fashion Mingle and has spent over 20 years in the creative industry fueled by a love of learning about the “next new thing”. Melissa has used her entrepreneurial passion and technology skills to develop an online platform for fashion professionals that will transform the future for local fashion communities.

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