Starbucks to close company stores for racial-bias education

The closure comes after a video of the arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia store for trespassing hit the web.

Starbucks

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson announced Tuesday that the coffee chain would close all of its retail stores and corporate offices on the afternoon of May 29 to train 175,000 employees in a program “designed to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome,” according to the company.

Starbucks’ move comes after video of the arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia store for trespassing kindled a national backlash against the company. The men were told to leave after asking to use the bathroom, despite their protests that they were customers who were waiting for a friend before ordering.

Starbucks executive chairman Howard Schultz told CBS he was “ashamed” of what happened. He described the upcoming training as “just the beginning of what we will do to transform the way we do business and educate our people on unconscious bias.” He added: “It will cost millions of dollars, but I’ve always viewed this and things like this as not an expense, but an investment in our people and our company. And we’re better than this.”

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