CLEVELAND - A press release was sent to WTAM on Thursday morning from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference that states that Rev. Jesse Jackson and other Civil Rights Leaders are asking the CEO and Chairman of Sherwin Williams, John Morikis, to come back to the table. They would like to request that Sherwin-Williams name a Black-owned firm as a critical partner in constructing their new headquarters in Cleveland.
" Rev. Jackson, founder and president of The Chicago-based Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, became the sixth legendary leader to join the campaign for economic parity in Cleveland, which centers around the request for Sherwin-Williams to name a Black-own firm as a key partner on the project, which is estimated to cost more than $600 million."
"I am absolutely supportive of this campaign,” Rev. Jackson said. “All sides must get back to the table to resolve this issue. It is in the best interest of Cleveland to meet with the SCLC.”
The press release spoke of other civil rights leaders who were joining the cause, including Martin Luther King III, former U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young, Rev. Al Sharpton, who is the founder and president of the National Action Network, Dr. Rev. E.T. Caviness, a legendary Cleveland pastor, and civil rights activist and Dr. Charles Steele, J.R.
Rev Dr. Charles Steele, the CEO and President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, spoke with WTAM.
"Sherwin Williams has been in business for more than 155 years, and they have no one in partnership role that is black or African American." - Dr. Charles Steele.
Steele went on to say Sherwin Williams is not looking out for black Clevelanders, even though the Cleveland Tax Dollars are helping to build the new complex.
Dr. Charles Steele, Jr., president and CEO of the national office of SCLC asked Sherwin Williams in a letter to CEO and Chairman John Morikis to return to the table by the end of April. But Sherwin Williams has not responded to that letter or previous outreaches. He has refused to meet at the request of prominent Cleveland Black leaders.
After speaking with Dr. Daniel Steele Jr, WTAM reached out to Sherwin Williams and heard back from Julie Young, their President of Global Corporate Communications. The statement reads
Sherwin-Williams has long been committed to inclusion, diversity and equity in its business and communities we serve. We have extended this commitment to our Building Our Future project, which includes a new global headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio and a new global R&D center in Brecksville, Ohio. Our thoughtful and deliberate approach to providing opportunities for businesses owned by underrepresented groups to participate in this project is already delivering results. Allegations to the contrary are unsupported by the facts.
Our inclusion, diversity, and equity plan offers opportunities for minority-owned, women-owned and small businesses. Over the next three years, Sherwin-Williams will invest a minimum of $600 million in the Building Our Future project, which includes meeting or exceeding the following robust economic inclusion requirements:
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