Starbucks is under heavy criticism after two men of color were arrested in one of their Philadelphia stores last week. In response, Starbucks will be closing more than 8,000 stores across the country on May 29 to provide racial sensitivity training to their employees.
Last Thursday, a Starbucks manager called the police to address two men of color in a Philadelphia store. According to the manager, they had not made any purchase, however they were loitering in the cafe.
When the police arrived, they arrested these two men on grounds for trespassing. The manager has since left the Starbucks store. It has sparked national outrage, and has brought the #BlackLivesMatter movement to the forefront.
How is Starbucks responding? In just one week after the incident, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson has publicly apologized saying these men “didn’t deserve that” and that it “should not have happened.”
But he also met with the two men and personally apologized to them. But apologizes aren’t enough for this coffee company.
Johnson announced that on May 29, over 8,000 stores will close for an afternoon to provide mandatory racial sensitivity training. As he puts it, “From me to every barista and everyone in between, we are all gonna go through this together.”
To help create the training materials, Starbucks is calling on former Attorney General, Eric Holder and Sherrilyn Ifil, from the NAACAP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. – an organization that fights for racial justice.
It’s estimated that this afternoon of training will cost $12 million to Starbucks.