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May 29 08:49 AM

Starbucks to close stores and offices for several hours to discuss how to move forward


 More than 175,000 Starbucks employees will be sharing life experiences, hearing from others, listening to experts, reflecting on the realities of bias in our society and talking about how best to create public spaces where everyone feels like they belong. This conversation will continue at our company and become part of how we train all of our partners.

 Recently, a Starbucks manager in Philadelphia called the police a few minutes after two black men arrived at a store and sat waiting for a friend. They had not yet purchased anything when the police were called. After police arrived they arrested the two men. The situation was reprehensible and does not represent our company’s mission and enduring values. 

After investigating what happened, Starbucks determined that insufficient support and training, a company policy that defined customers as paying patrons—versus anyone who enters a store—and bias led to the decision to call the police. The CEO, Kevin Johnson, met with the two men to express apologies, reconcile and commit to ongoing actions to reaffirm the company's guiding principles. 

"The incident has prompted us to reflect more deeply on all forms of bias, the role of our stores in communities and our responsibility to ensure that nothing like this happens again at Starbucks.", said Executive Chairman Howard Schultz.

"The reflection has led to a long–term commitment to reform system-wide policies, while elevating inclusion and equity in all we do."

"To our customers, I want to thank you for your patience and support as we renew our promise to make Starbucks what I envisioned it could be nearly 40 years ago—an inclusive gathering place for all."

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