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The Voice of the Black Community


Starbucks to close all stores for racial bias education on May 29
Curriculum designed for 175,000 employees
Published Tuesday, April 17, 2018 5:10 pm
by Herbert L. White

Starbucks Coffee Company will close more than 8,000 company-owned stores May 29 to conduct racial-bias education.

The training will be provided to nearly 175,000 U.S. employees and become part of the hiring process for newcomers. There are 20 Starbucks locations in Charlotte.

Starbucks began a review of its training and practices in the wake of the arrest of two African American men at a shop in Philadelphia. Police were called after a Starbucks employee noticed the men sitting in the shop without buying anything.

“I’ve spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it,” said Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a statement. “While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution. Closing our stores for racial-bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.”

All Starbucks company-owned retail stores and corporate offices will be closed the afternoon of May 29. During that time, employees will go through a training program designed to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome.

“The company’s founding values are based on humanity and inclusion,” said executive chairman Howard Schultz, who joined Johnson and other senior Starbucks leaders in Philadelphia to meet with community leaders and Starbucks partners. “We will learn from our mistakes and reaffirm our commitment to creating a safe and welcoming environment for every customer.”

The curriculum will be developed with guidance from national and local experts confronting racial bias, including Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; Heather McGhee, president of Demos; former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder; and Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League. The experts will also monitor and review effectiveness of the measures.

Once completed, the company will make the training materials available to other companies.


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