Now, 8,000 stores across the country, including many in CT, are locking their doors and giving racial bias education.
Company-owned stores are being closed, while licensed stores not owned by Starbucks are not required to.
Starbucks consulted a long list of experts in creating the training.
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More than 175,000 employees are required to attend the training. From there, the company says, employees will "move into a real and honest exploration of bias".
Anti-bias sessions can incorporate personal reflections, explorations of feelings and mental exercises.
The training is meant to help Starbucks navigate the challenges of being the "third place" that its leaders have often spoken about - the place where people spend time outside of work and their home.
Starbucks's workers will be taught about the history of the civil rights movement, and break off into small groups to figure out how bias might manifest in their behavior. Future trainings will address all aspects of bias and experiences. "This is just a sign that you that they want to get ahead of the problem", Varner said.
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A good exercise she suggested was to practice counter-stereotyping, where you look for something unique about a person that is beyond their social identity.
The two men were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks last month for allegedly trespassing, after they sat down in the store without ordering anything. After the manager called 911, the men were arrested and held for hours.
The incident went viral, and sparked a national discussion about racial profiling. They also reached a deal with the city of Philadelphia for a symbolic $1 each and a promise from officials to establish a $200,000 program for young entrepreneurs. What Starbucks is doing is performative, not productive: The showy approach may win over public opinion and bring back lost sales, but it will not actually make the kind of impact they're hoping for. If customers are disruptive, employees are advised to step in. Find out if a Starbucks near you will shut its doors...
"This is not going to be a one-day event where we're going to do something and leave", said Shultz.
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Steve Vedder, who lives across the street from Seaman, said the teacher moved into the Noblesville home in November. The reaction contrasted with the response to a February shooting at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
As far as the anti-bias training that employees will undergo, plans for the afternoon are elaborate. "We are providing our associates with training this year that focuses on our values and how we care for our customers, communities, and each other", a spokesperson for the company told Business Insider. Heather McGhee, president of Demos, an equal rights thinktank, contributed, as did the former United States attorney general Eric Holder and representatives of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education fund.