Here’s what you should know about today’s Starbucks anti-bias training
In April, after two innocent black men were wrongfully arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks, the coffee chain apologized and announced that, in order to prevent similar incidents from happening again, 8,000 stores would be closing early on May 29th for anti-racial bias training. Well, that day has arrived, and many are currently wondering: What will today’s training entail?
According to Reuters, the 8,000 company-owned locations involved in the training session will close at around 2 p.m. local time. About 175,000 employees will participate in this afternoon’s session, and the participating stores will reopen tomorrow, May 30th. Licensed Starbucks cafes, such as those in grocery stores and airports, will remain open, but will have a separate anti-bias training session at a later date.
During today’s session, NPR reports that employees will receive a “Team Guidebook” to accompany several videos — including one narrated by Common and one created by Stanley Nelson, the director of the documentary Freedom Riders. After watching the videos, participants will discuss questions like, “What makes individuals unique?” The people who helped create these materials include the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative.
Starbucks founder and executive chairman Howard Schultz said on CBS This Morning that the May 29th training will not be the only one of its kind.
"We hire 100,000 new people a year. This is going to be part of the on-boarding training. We're going to globalize this," Schultz said on the program. "I've been through the training myself as has all the global leaders. And this is something that we're going to stay with. Not something that's going to be a marketing or PR — we could have spent marketing dollars a lot different than something like this."
Of course, the Starbucks anti-bias training today won’t end racial bias and discrimination in the U.S. But starting a conversation about this issue is crucial, and hopefully, this first session will be the beginning of a larger reckoning.