Starbucks said Tuesday it will be closing all of its company-owned restaurants in the U.S.
during the afternoon of May 29 to conduct a racial-bias education program.
“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,” Kevin
Johnson, CEO of Starbucks, said in a statement Tuesday. “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.”
Some 8,000 of the company’s U.S.-based locations will participate so that nearly 175,000
employees attend the training program that will address implicit bias, promote inclusion and
help prevent discrimination.
“We will learn from our mistakes and reaffirm our commitment to creating a safe and
welcoming environment for every customer,” Howard Schultz, executive chairman for the
brand, said in a statement.
Starbucks will be working with 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 to create this program.
Once the company has completed this training at its company-owned locations it will make the
it available to its licensed partners.