Following the arrest indecent last month in a Philadelphia Starbucks coffee shop, the company promised to close it's doors and host a conversation and course for employees on "race, bias and the building of a diverse welcoming company."
Today, May 29th, more than 8,000 of their stores and offices across America will close to host the new curriculum.
The company worked with experts to create this afternoons first "collaborative and engaging" training session, including curriculum advisers 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, and many other researchers and social scientists.
Starbucks executive vice president Rossann Williams shared a note to all U.S. partners yesterday:
“Our hope is that these learning sessions and discussions will make a difference within and beyond our stores. After May 29, we will make the curriculum available to the public and share it with the regions as well as our licensed and business partners. Starbucks is a company built on nurturing the human spirit, and it’s on us to harness our scale and expertise to do right by the communities we serve. May 29 isn’t a solution, it's a first step. By educating ourselves on understanding bias and how it affects our lives and the lives of the people we encounter and serve, we renew our commitment to making the third place welcoming and safe for everyone.”
Today's first training will focus on the history of public accommodations in the US, and understanding racial bias issues.
After today, the company says they will share their training content with other companies and organizations interested in the curriculum.