'I'm Not Aware Of That': Starbucks Employees Receive Racial Bias Training

Michelle Tyrene Johnson a reporter at KCUR in Kansas City conducted diversity and bias training for employers for more than 15 years

The shutdown follows last month's arrest of two African American men in Philadelphia.

At 2 p.m. Tuesday, coffee brewing will come to a stop in all Starbucks across the country as workers go through racial bias training.

Starbucks will close more than 8,000 stores nationwide on Tuesday to conduct anti-bias training, the next of many steps the company is taking to try to restore its tarnished diversity-friendly image.

Young black entrepreneurs Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were waiting in a local Starbucks to meet someone and had not bought anything when the store manager called police. They were arrested by police minutes after they sat down to await a business meeting.

Starbucks stores in downtown Honolulu, as well as at Ward Village, Ala Moana, Waikiki, Kahala and most standalone retail locations will all close at 2:30 p.m.

Many social media users took the opportunity to highlight black-owned coffee shops that remained open during those hours. "We don't want to become a public bathroom, but in the same context, we want to lead the company and manage the company through the lens of humanity", he said. "Because the Starbucks locations within Target stores are managed by Target and run by our team members, our staff will take part in Target's existing company-wide bias training programs", said a statement on Targets corporate website.

Black leaders who are advising Starbucks Corp on the training hope it will reinvigorate decades-old efforts to ensure minorities get equal treatment in restaurants and stores, setting an example for other corporations.

"All the other white people are wondering why it's never happened to us when we do the same thing", tweeted customer Melissa DePino, who posted a video of the incident.

Starbucks executive chairman Howard Schultz, the architect of its move into a cafe format in the late 1980s, said in an open letter that the decision to call police and their subsequent arrests "were reprehensible and did not represent the company's mission and enduring values". "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". Those two men told ABC's Robin Roberts they want to see long-term change.

The company then announced a new policy, clearly stating its "third place" philosophy: "Any customer is welcome to use Starbucks spaces, including our restrooms, cafes and patios, regardless of whether they make a purchase", as long as they avoid "disruptive behavior".

"What (Starbucks is) doing today- they're educating".

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