They said they hope Starbucks will incorporate anti-bias training into its employee onboarding process to make sure that every employee is trained. Almost 175,000 employees will participate in the diversity training program - a first step, the company said, in addressing issues of racial bias among its workforce after a high-profile incident in Philadelphia last month prompted massive backlash and public outcry.
Perception executive director Alexis McGill Johnson told Associated Press that the aim of anti-bias training is not to "say you're a bad person because you have a stereotype about a group, but say this is why your brain may have these stereotypes".
"May 29 isn't a solution, it's a first step", he said. The NAACP's Sherrilyn Ifill, who is one of Starbucks's advisors on its anti-bias training material, has previously noted that "this can't be a one-off".
There's a reason why you won't be able to get your afternoon pick-me-up from Starbucks on Tuesday. A sign posted at a San Francisco store said the store would close at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday and reopen at 5 a.m. Wednesday.
The first training will focus on the understanding of racial bias and the history of public accommodations in the United States. "This is a long-term effort and we plan to address all kinds of bias in the weeks, months and years ahead", he said. The program will also have employees reflect on their experiences in a workbook, and watch a video that features Common, an Academy Award-winning rapper and artist.
Starbucks will share content and curriculum with other companies, organizations and individuals interested in training their audiences.
Most of Starbucks' 7,000 licensed stores, including those operated by hotels, grocery stores and airports, should be open.
Starbucks committed to the training after a Philadelphia cafe manager's call to police resulted in the arrests of two black men who were waiting for a friend. He said he'd like to see Starbucks' executive and managerial ranks to become as diverse as the customers they serve. Starbucks is asking customers to behave in a way that "maintains a warm and welcoming environment". The new policy comes after the arrests of the two black men in Philadelphia.
Since the incident occurred, Starbucks has formally apologized to the two men involved.