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Starbucks protesters say shutting down all US stores for racial-bias training simply isn’t enough

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Members of a fraternity protested in Philadelphia on Sunday after Rashon Nelson — one of their brothers — was arrested for "defiant trespassing," a move that many people called racist.

What did the protesters say?

Omega Psi Phi members — as well as Philadelphia city officials — said that Starbucks' plan to close its U.S. stores on May 29 for racial-bias training simply isn't enough, according to ABC News.

More than 100 fraternity members and supporters reportedly gathered for Sunday's "Rally Against Racial Injustice" protest, which occurred near the downtown Starbucks where police officers arrested Nelson and his friend, Donte Robinson.

"The actions of the Starbucks corporation are totally unacceptable," Philadelphia Councilman Kenyatta Johnson told those attending Sunday's gathering. "We know they said they’re going to move forward and specifically focus on a training that deals with unconscious bias, but that’s a one-day training."

Johnson said he wants to see how the coffee chain will "change their culture as it relates to racial insensitivity and also diversity and inclusion as it relates to making sure that everyone who comes to a Starbucks store that lives in the city of Philadelphia should feel welcome."

Johnson noted that Nelson and Robinson, who were waiting in the Philadelphia Starbucks on a business colleague — were "in the right place focusing on doing the right things with their lives," but regardless were met with opposition and seen as a threat.

What did the national leader say?

Omega Psi Phi’s national leader, Grand Basileus Antonio Knox, said he appreciated Starbucks' apology, but noted that he feels more is required.

"Now is the time," he said. "It’s no longer acceptable to allow and to be comfortable to discriminate against our young men and women. The strength of this country depends on us being able to work together as one."

He continued, "[W]e will not invest in companies that will not treat us as they treat everybody else. Starbucks has an opportunity, and so far it appears that they are going to do the right thing, but it won’t stop with one-day training. They know that."

"[W]hat we’re asking is that Starbucks joins us and allow us to work together to create this change all over because it’s not just that one corporation," Knox added.

Anything else?

In addition to vowing to close U.S. stores on May 29, for racial-bias training, Starbucks apologized to Nelson and Robinson for the incident.

Last week, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross also apologized to Nelson and Robinson even though he initially said that his officers did no wrong in hauling the men — who reportedly refused to leave a local Starbucks after being asked — off to jail.

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