Starbucks Shutting Down All US Stores May 29 for Racial Bias Training

It aims to 'ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2018 2:58 PM CDT
Jennifer Bennetch with her son Yusuf Williams-Bey protest outside the Starbucks on 18th & Spruce Streets in Philadelphia, Monday, April 16, 2018.   (Jose F. Moreno/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

(Newser) – Starbucks, under fire after a manager called police on two black men at a Philadelphia store and the men were arrested for trespassing, will close all of its US stores on the afternoon of May 29 for racial bias training. Nearly 175,000 employees will receive the training, and new hires will be required to go through it as well, the company says in a press release. The training, which will be developed with input from experts including NAACP and Anti-Defamation League execs and former attorney general Eric Holder, will "address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination, and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome," the release says. The lawyer for the two men also released a statement jointly with Starbucks Tuesday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

"For the past several days, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson and the gentlemen involved in the incident at the Philadelphia Starbucks store have engaged in constructive discussions about this issue as well as what is happening in communities across the country," it reads. "Mr. Johnson apologized on behalf of Starbucks, and the conversation continues today about how this painful incident can become a vehicle for positive social change." Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations is looking into other incidents reported at the same Center City store, and CBS News reports that a similar incident at an LA Starbucks is also making headlines. In January, a black man posted a video saying he was refused access to the store's bathroom while a white customer was given the entry code; neither had made a purchase. (Read more Starbucks stories.)

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