Starbucks To Close 8,000 Locations For Racial Bias Training

Starbucks says it will close 8,000 company-owned stores on the afternoon of May 29th to educate employees on racial biases. 

The training will impact approximately 175,000 employees nationwide. It comes in the wake of a controversy involving the arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks location last week. 

The two men were allegedly waiting for a friend inside of the coffee house on Thursday when they asked to use the restroom.

An employee allegedly told them it was for paying customers only. 

When they then sat in the store without ordering anything, the manager called police, and the men were arrested for trespassing. No charges were filed.

"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," Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said 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."

Starbucks says the training will be developed with guidance from experts including former Attorney General Eric Holder.

Sherrilyn Ifill, the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, will also help design the program, as will executives from the Equal Justice Initiative and Demos, the progressive think tank.

The experts will also review the effectiveness of the training, Starbucks said.

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