BREAKING: Starbucks will close 8,000 stores for racial-bias training

Looks like everyone who rolled their eyes at the Starbucks boycott and wrote a think piece about how the call for a swift and vocal blackout of the Seattle-based juggernaut “won’t work” – owes those activists in Philly who kicked off this movement a HUGE apology.

Turns out all that “silly” backlash actually did what it was supposed to.

–Fraternity rallies around Rashon Nelson after Starbucks arrest–

It has now been announced that, “Starbucks says it will close more than 8,000 company-owned stores in the United States on the afternoon of May 29 to conduct racial-bias education geared toward preventing discrimination in our stores.”

At first, the coffee chain seemed dismissive and unmoved by the public outcry and issued an apology that was so watered down you could almost feel the apathy of whatever intern they got to draft it up.

And even during his appearance on Good Morning America Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson refused to admit that the incident caught on the now infamous customer footage was racially motivated.

But now the chief executive has changed his tune, called for “unconscious bias” training for Starbucks store managers, and is deeply sorry for the  “reprehensible” circumstances that led to the arrest of the two men at a store in Philadelphia’s Center City district Thursday.

“I will fix this,” Johnson said in a video message.

It is also worth noting that the managers who will be trained all over the country will NOT include, “Holly”, the one who made the now infamous phone call that led to this mess in the first place, as she and Starbucks have mutually decided to part ways.

–Starbucks manager explains why she called police to arrest Black men–

Good job family!

The next time you find yourself annoyed or agitated by activists who are “constantly complaining” about something please remember this story.

Activism is supposed to be an inconvenience that forces people to stop what they’re doing and actually question their actions.

That’s kind of the whole point.

For those who are curious, I’ve included the full press release theGrio received below. 


Following up to share details on racial bias trainings being held across Starbucks stores in the U.S. in light of recent events in Philadelphia. Please see below for the full release.

Training will occur at all Starbucks company-owned stores and will apply to nearly 175,000 U.S. partners (employees)

Curriculum to be designed by nationally recognized experts and will be available for other companies to use

Starbucks Coffee Company (today announced it will be closing its more than 8,000 company-owned stores in the United States on the afternoon of May 29 to conduct racial-bias education geared toward preventing discrimination in our stores. The training will be provided to nearly 175,000 partners (employees) across the country, and will become part of the onboarding process for new partners.

“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,” said Starbucks ceo Kevin Johnson. “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.”

All Starbucks company-owned retail stores and corporate offices will be closed in the afternoon of Tuesday, May 29. During that time, partners will go through a training program designed to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome.

“The company’s founding values are based on humanity and inclusion,” said executive chairman Howard Schultz, who joined Johnson and other senior Starbucks leaders in Philadelphia to meet with community leaders and Starbucks partners. “We will learn from our mistakes and reaffirm our commitment to creating a safe and welcoming environment for every customer.”

The curriculum will be developed with guidance from several national and local experts confronting racial bias, including 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. Starbucks will involve these experts in monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of the measures we undertake.

Earlier this week, Starbucks began a review of its training and practices to make important reforms where necessary to ensure our stores always represent our Mission and Values, by providing a safe and inclusive environment for our customers and partners.

Once completed, the company will make the education materials available to other companies, including our licensee partners, for use with their employees and leadership.

Starbucks Media Relations