This announcement came in response to the recent arrest of two black men at a local Philadelphia Starbucks who were simply waiting for their friend. The store manager deemed them to be “trespassers” and called 911.
The two men went to Starbucks and asked to use their restroom. An employee replied that it was only for paying customers. They proceeded to wait for their friend and didn’t order anything. This prompted the store manager, who is no longer working at Starbucks, to call 911. No charges happened to be filed.
Protests broke out not soon after and demonstrators were quick to voice their opinions on the matter, stating that this arrest showcases a bigger issue of institutionalized racism. The CEO of Starbucks met with the two men on Monday and apologized on behalf of the company for how they were treated.
The racial bias training is set to be conducted on the afternoon of May 29,2018, to approximately 175,000 employees. Starbucks stated that their goal in the coaching is to teach employees on preventing discrimination and how to promote an inclusive as well as a conscious environment.
“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,” 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.”
Starbucks has enlisted many big names in efforts to help their program. This includes former Attorney General Eric Holder, Sherrilyn Ifill,the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, as well as executives from the Equal Justice Initiative and Demos. They will plan the program as well as review the effectiveness for future trials.
The company also added that in the future, they will continue to progress racial bias education to its 5,700 licensed stores such as the ones inside Target and Barnes & Noble Stores.