Starbucks announces drastic plan for racial-bias training

Starbucks announces drastic plan for racial-bias training
Starbucks announced it plans to close 8,000 stores on May 29 for racial-bias training to about 175,000 store associates. (Getty Images)

Starbucks announced on Tuesday that it will close 8,000 stores on May 29 to provide racial-bias training to about 175,000 store associates.

What’s the history leading up to this?

An incident Thursday at a franchise in Philadelphia preceded the company’s announcement that it  would be administering racial-bias training.

The incident involved two black men who were arrested on Thursday after “defiant trespassing.”

Some bystander accounts reported that the men arrested didn’t do anything wrong, while others said that the men refused to leave when asked by law enforcement.

A local district attorney refused to approve the charges, and the men were released Friday.

Holly — the former Starbucks manager who called police on the two men — spoke with Apple News and said that there’s more to the story than what the media are reporting.

The former manager, who refused to provide her last name out of fear, told the outlet that she managed the location for a year up until Thursday’s incident and said that, throughout her time at the store, loitering was a very common occurrence punishable by management’s right to contact law enforcement if they deem it necessary.

What are the details of the closures for training?

In a statement, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson explained that he and his company are “committed to being a part of the solution” when it comes to equal treatment among people.

“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,” Johnson said.

“While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution,” he added. “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.”

USA Today reported that the training will be “designed to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination, and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome.”

The company’s training will be crafted under the guidance of experts like former Attorney General Eric Holder, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill, and Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.

Executives from the Equal Justice Initiative and Demos will also assist in the training program’s development.

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