Starbucks closing all stores May 29 for racial-bias training

Starbucks announced on Tuesday (April 17) that it will be closing all its company-owned stores nationwide – including several in Kent – on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 29 for racial-bias training.

Training will be given to nearly 175,000 U.S. employees nationwide.

“Employees will go through a training program designed to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome,” the company said in a statement.

This is in response to recent incidents, including one in Philadelphia where two African-American men were arrested as they waited for a friend:

The company said that the curriculum will be developed with guidance from several national and local experts confronting racial bias, including Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; Heather McGhee, president of Demos; former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder; and Jonathan Greenblatt, ceo of the Anti-Defamation League. Starbucks will involve these experts in monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of the measures we undertake.

“Earlier this week, Starbucks began a review of its training and practices to make important reforms where necessary to ensure our stores always represent our Mission and Values, by providing a safe and inclusive environment for our customers and partners.”

Once completed, the company will make the education materials available to other companies, including its licensee partners, for use with their employees and leadership.