Starbucks says anti-bias training is multi-year effort

Coffee retailer previews what the four-hour training will include

Cherri Gregg
May 24, 2018 - 1:11 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Starbucks released a five-minute video previewing the anti-bias training scheduled at its 8,000 corporate-owned stores next Tuesday. 

The company said this is just one step in a multi-year effort.

With counsel from experts like Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, and Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the four-hour training will include a video welcome from Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, as well as a guided discussion by rapper and actor Common.

The video will also includes appearances from founder Howard Schultz, who will discuss the history of the company and the vision moving forward.  

Employees will then take a look at the history of racial bias in public accommodation in America and be guided via a toolkit through small group discussions of personal experiences with bias.  

To conclude, the trainees will watch an original film, "You're Welcome," by award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson. It will explore the experiences of African-Americans in places of accommodation.

On its website, Starbucks shared comments from Executive Vice President and President of U.S. Retail Rossann Williams: "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."

This day of training comes just weeks after two African-American men, Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson, were racially profiled and arrested inside a Center City Starbucks. The two men have since settled with the city of Philadelphia, receiving $1 each and $200,000 for a fund to help student entrepreneurs. 

RELATED: Community leaders call for equality outside Center City Starbucks

The duo also settled with Starbucks and will get the chance to complete their college degrees through a tuition-free program at Arizona State University.

The company's 8,000 stores will close for part of the afternoon on May 29. The 7,000 licensed stores, at universities and other partner locations, will remain opening.  

Starbucks says future trainings will focus on various aspects of racial bias. The company will share the training with licensed operators and has also offered to share with other organizations.