Starbucks Shuts Down for Racial Bias Training

The international coffee giant Starbucks is closing its 8,000 U.S. locations today to conduct racial bias training with its employees.

The closure comes a little over a month after two black men were arrested for sitting in a Starbucks and using the bathroom there without having purchased anything while they awaited a third person for a business meeting.

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson reached a settlement with the city of Philadelphia over the wrongful arrest and secured a $200,000 grant with the city for student entrepreneurs.

Stores will close today at 2:30 p.m., reopening at their regular time tomorrow morning.

Some 7,000 Starbucks-licensed locations in airports, hotels, and supermarkets will all likely remain open, as the training will encompass only those employees working at Starbucks-operated locations.

Earlier this month, the company announced a change to its bathroom policy, with Executive Chairman and former CEO Howard Schultz saying:

“We don’t want to become a public bathroom, but we’re going to make the right decision 100 percent of the time and give people the key.”

The training curriculum for today’s training was formulated by Equal Justice Initiative Founder and Executive Director Bryan Stevenson as well as Sherrilyn Ifill, the legal defense and educational fund president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).



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