Local black contractors and clergy protesting Sherwin-Williams for lack of diversity in construction project

Local black contractors and clergy protesting Sherwin-Williams for lack of diversity in construction

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - On Wednesday, three black community leaders wrote an open letter demanding the construction of the company’s new headquarters be repealed.

Norman Edwards penned that letter, and he told 19 News that more diverse partners, who are local, should help with the construction. Edwards says, “We cannot and will not tolerate it any longer.”

It’s a protest for involvement. Now, local minority-owned construction firms are upset with Sherwin-Williams over the specific firms Involved in the construction of its new headquarters. “It was an insult for Sherwin-Williams to come out and have ten partners with no diversity and inclusion.”

Edwards, president of the Black Contractors Group, insists a conversation or offer for a partnership with black-owned firms was never presented. Edwards says, “How do we tell black contractors and black construction workers that they have hope when we’re left out right at the beginning.”

Sherwin-Williams, for its part, says they have made an effort for more diversity. 19 News reached out to Sherwin-Williams for a response to this interview. We haven’t heard back. In their statement on Tuesday, it says, “Sherwin-Williams is committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and diversity in the workforce. Forbes recently named the Company among America’s Best Employers for Diversity, for New Graduates, and for Women.”

Edwards says keeping the Fortune 500 company in the area is a good thing...but, “We want Sherwin-Williams to be built here, but if we’re not inclusive and you’re bringing in out of towners to take our money and take it outside of greater Cleveland-Cuyahoga County area, do not build it in our backyard.”

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