Starbucks closes stores, asks workers to talk about race | AP business

Starbucks closes stores, asks workers to talk about race | AP business

Starbucks closes stores, asks workers to talk about race | AP business

Coffee chain Starbucks has shut all 8,000 company-owned branches in the U.S. for an afternoon to carry out "racial bias" training. They had been there to meet a client for a business meeting, a common occurrence at Starbucks locations nationwide.

A sign at one location in Chicago, for instance, says the store will be locking its doors at 2:30 p.m. and reopening on Wednesday.

The Philadelphia Police was reportedly called by the manager when the two men sat in the store without placing the order.

"What (Starbucks is) doing today- they're educating". After police arrived they arrested the two men.

Today 100 million customers enter Starbucks stores each week.

In addition, they settled with the city of Philadelphia for a symbolic $1 each and a promise that a $200,000 fund will be established to promote entrepreneurship among high school students.

"We've had this conversation among ourselves and customers", said barrista Brianna Grenier.

Now, the company is responding with videos of its own as part of the four-hour training session it rolled out for employees across the country on Tuesday.


Target introduced unconscious bias training in 2017, has trained employees at its Minneapolis headquarters and continues to roll it out across the company, the statement said.

Starbucks has always sought to portray its stores as neighborhood-friendly spaces, but its rules about bathroom use and hanging out by non-customers has been up to the discretion of local managers.

The incident has prompted us to reflect more deeply on all forms of bias, the role of our stores in communities and our responsibility to ensure that nothing like this happens again at Starbucks.

One frequent Starbucks customer in Columbia is Mike Swanson, an associate professor at the University of Missouri's Journalism school.

'We want to be a welcoming environment to everybody regardless of their position in life, ' he said.

"But when a company is willing to put the hard issues before us", he says, "I think those kinds of companies should be supported, should be applauded".

Perception executive director Alexis McGill Johnson told Associated Press that the aim of anti-bias training is not to "say you're a bad person because you have a stereotype about a group, but say this is why your brain may have these stereotypes".

"For some of us it's going to be how we view people who may have had different experiences than we have who we may not understand right away or who may look different", Lefcourt said.

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