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Clergy, black contractor groups cancel protest after leaders include them in Cleveland Rising summit

Aaron Phillips
Posted at 12:42 PM, Oct 28, 2019

CLEVELAND — A protest that was planned outside the Cleveland Rising summit this week has been canceled after the summit's planners reached an agreement with the Cleveland Clergy Coalition and the Black Contractors Association.

The planned protest was canceled after summit planners extended an apology to the groups and their families, and offered to establish a working relationship with the coalition and the contractors, according to a news release from the Cleveland Clergy Coalition.

County Executive Armond Budish met with the members of the Cleveland Clergy Coalition, who said they were frustrated that they weren't directly invited to the Cleveland Rising summit originally. Over the weekend, county and city leaders talked over the phone with members of the local groups to change that.

“We all believe that effective economic development is only possible if no one is left behind," Budish said at a news conference Monday announcing the cancellation of the protest and an agreement between the groups.

“We felt neglected and we felt it was a blow...for the city to move forward and for us to not be included," said Norm Edwards, the head of the American Center for Economic Equality and Black Contractors Association. He praised Budish and the Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley for reaching out to bring his group and the Cleveland Clergy Coalition on board.

"We have forgiven," being left out of the summit initially, said Cleveland Clergy Coalition Pastor Aaron Phillips. “We want to be inside making the food because we don’t want to be on the menu."

Kelley said that he would have stood at the protest with the Cleveland Clergy Coalition and Black Contractors Association had an agreement not been reached.

“If we talk about inclusion, we have to do it. We have to talk to the people already involved in this," Kelley said.

At the end of Monday's news conference, Budish named Tuesday "Economic Inclusion Day" to start the Cleveland Rising summit.

RELATED: Cleveland Rising Summit tries to rebuild trust, identify underlying issues for Cleveland residents