After a public outcry over the arrest of two black men in a Starbucks at Philadelphia, the coffee chain on Tuesday announced that it will shut more than 8000 US stores for an afternoon next month to train workers in racial bias education.
The training will be given on May 29 to about 175,000 workers.
In a statement, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said, “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,”
“While this not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution.”
“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,” he added.
The company says the training will be developed with guidance from experts.
Heart of the matter,
Two men entered the Starbucks on Thursday asking to use the bathroom. An employee informed them it was only meant for paid customers. When the duo sat in the store without ordering anything, the manager called the police. The two men were arrested for trespassing. However, no charges were filed.
Johnson met the two men on Monday and apologized for the wrong treatment, a company spokesperson said. The company added that the manager who called the police is no longer working at that store.
Separately, a Facebook video in January at a Starbucks in California showed that a black man was not allowed to use the bathroom when a white customer was.
Afro-Americans make up 3 percent of the area’s residents.