Amid outcry over the arrest of two black men in a Philadelphia Starbucks, the coffee chain announced Tuesday that it will close more than 8,000 US stores for an afternoon next month to train workers in "racial-bias education".
The announcement from world's biggest coffee company comes as it tries to cool tensions after the Philadelphia incident last week sparked accusations of racial profiling at the chain, which is the subject of a boycott campaign on social media.
Another incident happened in a California Starbucks which is a similar incident to what happened in the Philadelphia Starbucks. According to the company's statement, this training will occur at all Starbucks-owned locations, for almost 175,000 employees nationwide. The video appeared to show no cause for police involvement. Starbucks will involve these experts in monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of the measures we undertake. The CEO told ABC News on Monday that store managers will also go through training in an effort to fight "unconscious bias".
After the arrest of two black men who sat in a Philadelphia Starbucks without buying a drink, Starbucks is going through a public relations tailspin - and the company can't seem to say mea culpa fast enough.
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On Twitter, many people have praised the company's decision..
"The company's founding values are based on humanity and inclusion", Howard Schultz, Executive Chairman of Starbucks, said in a statement. I think I take it very personally as everyone in our company does and we're committed to making it right. The company also touts the diversity of its workforce, saying minorities comprise more than 40 percent of its employees in the US.
The curriculum will be developed with guidance from several national and local experts confronting racial bias, 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. This includes different companies, as well as its licensee partners.