Coffee Company Starbucks announced it would be closing its more than 8,000 company-owned stores in the United States on the afternoon of May 29 to conduct racial-bias education geared toward preventing discrimination in their stores. The training will be provided to nearly 175,000 partners (employees) across the country and will become part of the onboarding process for new partners.
Starbucks is organizing this education training after the recent outrage the company has faced for getting arrested two black men who were waiting at their coffee shop. The Starbucks staff called the police thinking of the men as trespassers. Later, CEO of Starbucks, Kevin Johnson apologized on social networking site Twitter saying he is ‘disappointed’.
“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, Kevin Johnson. “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 on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 29. During that time, partners 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.
Executive Chairman of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, said, "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 several national and local experts confronting racial bias. Some of the experts include 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. Starbucks will involve these experts in monitoring and review the effectiveness of the measures it undertakes.