Alexandria, Virginia, officials announced last week that the city will end its BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) Small Business Grant Program, which was created to offer financial assistance to minority-owned businesses, after a lawsuit by Tridentis LLC in January argued it violated the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by discriminated against white-owned firms’ participation.
A small business needed to be at least 51% BIPOC owned for program eligibility.
“Upon review of the lawsuit and the program, we have decided we will not launch the program as currently proposed,” city leaders said in a statement on its website.
City leaders said they will explore other ways to support Alexandria’s “diverse small business community.” Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) filed an amicus brief in support of the Tridentis lawsuit.
Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson said his administration favors supporting minority- and women-owned businesses.
“I think we’re committed in Alexandria to being very intentional about addressing some of those inequities and we’ll work within the law and make sure that we do the right thing and design programs that are going to address those needs,” the mayor said.