Next month, Starbucks will close over 8000 of its stores in the U.S. for several hours for a racial-bias training session, the Washington Post reports. The session is a response to national criticism after employees in a Philadelphia Starbucks called the police on two black men waiting for a friend to join them, effectively reporting the two young men for standing in the store. Those men later agreed to meet with with Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson to discuss the incident, while the employee who had them arrested has reportedly been fired.
The training is expected to reach nearly 175,000 of the company's workers. According to a press release from the company, the curriculum for the training will be developed by several prominent experts on racial bias, including Equal Justice Initiative founder and director Bryan Stevenson, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund president Sherrilyn Ifill, and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
“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,” said Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson in a statement. “While this is 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.”