Four small business owners have filed a federal lawsuit against Comcast Cable Communications over its agenda to develop and apply a “small business program” that excludes them because of their race.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty said it filed the complaint in Indiana charging that the Comcast RISE program violates the Civil Rights Act of 1866, a federal law banning “racial discrimination in the making and enforcement of private contracts.”
“Comcast is violating federal law by establishing strict racial qualifications for the Comcast RISE small business grant program,” explained WILL President Rick Esenberg. “Federal law is clear the private institutions and businesses may not engage in race discrimination when making contracts.”
The plaintiffs come from Indiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, and they are seeking an immediate injunction stopping Comcast from using “racial qualifications” in its program.
Christopher Moses, from Greenwood, Indiana, is one of the plaintiffs, and he explained, “Like most small business owners around the country, I could use some help. When I first learned about the Comcast RISE program, I had hoped that it was something that could help my business. But I soon learned that I’m not eligible because of the color of my skin. Race discrimination is always wrong. I hope Comcast changes this program and opens it up to all small business owners.”
The RISE program blatantly requires applicants for help to be “at least 51% owned and operated by someone who identifies as black, indigenous, a person of color or a female.”
It was launched in 2020 and supposedly offers small businesses ways to “elevate” themselves.
The offerings are consulting, creative product of a commercial, and other things.
Since it started Comcast has handed out more than 8,000 small business RISE grants, with recipients in 590 cities.
But it pointedly excludes white male small business owners.
Moses owns All American Clean LLC. Other plaintiffs are Themi Sacarellos who owns Round the Clock East Inc. restaurant in York, Pennsylvania, Antonio Vitolo who owns Jake’s Bar and Grill in Harriman, Tennessee, and Alfred Castiglioni, who owns Chardonnays Inc. restaurant in Seekonk, Massachusetts.
The federal law requires “all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right in every State and Territory to make and enforce contracts.” The term “make and enforce contract”” includes the “making, performance, modification, and termination of contracts, and the enjoyment of all benefits, privileges, terms, and conditions of the contractual relationship,” WILL reported.
They all “would be eligible for RISE grants if the criteria were race neutral,” WILL said.
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