March 5, 2010
Jeff M. Fettig
President/CEO of Whirlpool Corporation
2000 N. M-63
Benton Harbor, MI 49022-2692
Dear Mr. Fettig,
Since reading “Cornerstone In Crosshairs” printed in the local Herald Palladium newspaper on March 3, 2010 written by staff writer Evan Goodenow, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) would like to respond to and condemn statements made by your representative Marcus Robinson, President of Consortium for Community Development, formerly known as Citizens for Progressive Change.
According to the newspaper and public knowledge, the Consortium for Community Development is a component of Cornerstone Alliance, partly formed by Whirlpool Corporation in 1987. Mr. Robinson has made comments that we and the community feel violate First Amendment Rights of Free Speech and Freedom of Religion and we ask if his words reflect your company or if you wish to distance Whirlpool Corporation for those statements.
In the article, he made inflammatory statements regarding two elected City Commissioners regarding an appeal to a Benton Harbor state takeover. In his statements, he claimed their opposition is, “borderline incitement of civil disturbance and I believe they know what they are doing. These are calculated statements to incite,” he said. The question we would like to ask is, what did he mean and does he speak for Whirlpool Corporation?
The purpose of the NAACP is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination. Since Mr. Robinson is an experienced consultant and educator who has worked on behalf of Whirlpool, offering training classes on issues relating to culture, diversity and in inclusion, we believe it this is in total contradiction to his position. An apology on behalf of the readers who read this newspaper is expected in an effort to make amends for these unfortunate statements.
As CEO of a international and major corporation, we believe that that the appropriate actions will be acknowledged. Your timely response to this matter will show that the Whirlpool Corporation denounces these comments and the subliminal suggestions are not acceptable. Please call me directly at (269)925-0001 if you have further questions or comments.
President of the Benton Harbor/Twin Cities Naacp, Rev. Edward Pinkney