As Starbucks locations nationwide plan to close today for diversity training, a noted author on the African-American experience will personally tour selected outlets in Los Angeles and Inglewood to determine the type and effectiveness of the training.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is the president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, a weekly public policy forum dedicated to education and civic engagement. He has written nine books on the black experience.
Starbucks' move to close 8,000 of its stores comes as two black men in Philadelphia were arrested on suspicion of trespassing in April because they would not place an order. The men said they were waiting for a friend. No charges were filed.
The arrest sparked outrage, and Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson announced Tuesday's closure to address implicit bias and prevent discrimination.
``It's been an emotional experience,'' Johnson told CNN's Don Lemon shortly after the arrest.
Johnson told Lemon that he personally sat across from the men who were arrested, trying to understand how this could happen in today's society.
``In a Starbucks,'' he said, ``where our mission is around the human experience and creating a warm welcoming environment for everyone.''
CNN reports that most of Starbucks' 7,000 licensed stores, including those operated by hotels, grocery stores and airports, should be open. Stores that are closing and participating in the training are expected to close about 2 or 3 p.m. local time.