Starbucks Will Close Company-owned Stores May 29 for Anti-bias Training 

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In the wake of a growing controversy over the arrest of two African-American men at one of its coffee shops in Philadelphia, Starbucks announced Tuesday that it would close all of its company-owned stores on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 29, to conduct racial-bias prevention training. A company announcement said the instruction for the nearly 175,000 employees at more than 8,000 Starbucks locations is "designed to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome."

Starbucks came under fire after staff at one of its Philadelphia locations called police who arrested two African-American men who had asked to use the store restrooms. USA Today reports that the men were told restrooms were only for paying customers. The men reportedly told Starbucks staff that they were waiting for a friend at the location, but the store manager proceeded to call the police to have them removed from the premisis. Although police arrested the two men, Starbucks opted not to press any criminal charges.

"We will learn from our mistakes and reaffirm our commitment to creating a safe and welcoming environment for every customer," Howard Schultz, executive chairman for the brand, said in a statement.

Starbucks officials said they would be be working with Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; Heather McGhee, president of Demos; former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder; and Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, to create the Tuesday, May 29 training program.
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