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article imageStarbucks to close 8,000 stores on May 29 for racial-bias class

By Karen Graham     Apr 17, 2018 in Business
Philadelphia - Starbucks announced on Tuesday it was closing over 8,000 company-owned stores across the nation for one afternoon to train its staff on how to avoid "racial bias." The training will be provided on May 29 to about 175,000 employees.
The training will be geared toward "preventing discrimination in our stores,” Starbucks said. The training, going forward will become part of the "onboarding process for new workers," the company said, according to ABC News.
"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," Kevin Johnson, Starbucks chief executive officer, said in a statement.
"While this is not limited to Starbucks, we're committed to being a part of the solution," Johnson said. "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."
The racial-bias training program will be designed with guidance from experts including former Attorney General Eric Holder, Sherrilyn Ifill, the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League.
Also included in the team of experts will be executives from the Equal Justice Initiative, and Demos, the progressive think tank.These experts will also review and monitor the effectiveness of the training program, said Starbucks., adding that the team of experts will be available for other companies to use.
Starbucks is apologizing for an incident in a Philadelphia store where  two black men waiting for a ...
Starbucks is apologizing for an incident in a Philadelphia store where two black men waiting for a friend without ordering were arrested by police
JUSTIN SULLIVAN, GETTY/AFP/File
The Starbucks announcement comes on the same day that the city of Philadelphia has launched an investigation into additional "informal complaints" at a downtown Starbucks store where two black men were arrested for doing nothing more than sitting at a table, according to witnesses.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement that the city's Commission on Human Relations will look into other reported instances at the Centre City area shop.
"The PCHR has received informal complaints about the specific Starbucks location since the matter arose," the commission said in a statement Tuesday. "Any information regarding these complaints are part of our current investigation, and thus are deemed confidential."
The arrest of the men was captured on video and tweeted by Melissa DePino, a 50-year-old mother of two who told ABC News she has vowed not to patronize Starbucks again. "It was humiliating for those guys," DePino said. "They were completely minding their own business."
“They were waiting for a friend to show up, who did as they were taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing. All the other white (people) are wondering why it’s never happened to us when we do the same thing," DePino added, according to AJC.com.
Johnson met with the two men on Monday and apologized for how they were treated. The company says the manager who called the police is no longer working for Starbucks.
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