More than 8,000 Starbucks stores will be closed nationwide next month for a one-day training aimed at educating employees about racial bias.
The training was announced after two black men were arrested last week at a Philadelphia Starbucks, raising questions of racial bias and sparking criticism at the store and online.
Company officials said more than 8,000 company-owned Starbucks locations will be closed on the afternoon of May 29 for racial-bias training. Nearly 175,000 employees across the country will receive the training, which will become a regular part of the company’s onboarding process, Starbucks officials said.
Two black men were arrested at a Starbucks in Philadelphia last week after an employee called 911 to say the men were trespassing.
Employees told officers the men were denied the use of the coffee shop’s bathroom and refused to leave, police Commissioner Richard Ross said Saturday.
The men were not charged.
The incident gained national attention after video of the arrests appeared on social media.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson apologized to the men in a private meeting with them Monday, a Starbucks spokesperson told CNN. The spokesperson declined to elaborate on what took place during the meeting.
Johnson apologized for the incident in a statement Saturday and pledged to investigate. He said Tuesday that the planned racial-bias training “is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local community.”
“While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution,” he said.
Several national and local experts will help to form the curriculum for the training, Starbucks officials said, including NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Company officials said experts will also monitor and review whether the training is effective.
There are more than 28,000 Starbucks stores in 77 countries.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.