More than 8,000 Starbucks to close for anti-bias training

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Starbucks is closing close more than 8,000 stores across the US on Tuesday to conduct anti-bias training after the arrest of two black men last month at one of its Philadelphia stores.

The coffee chain's leaders reached out to bias training experts after the arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks last month. Employees will talk about their own experiences and watch a film about bias, the company announced. Most closures appear to be starting at around 2:30 p.m. local time, according to Starbucks' website.

Others say a four-hour training session in racial sensitivity is better than nothing.

Since the Philadelphia incident, Starbucks has said it will allow people to sit in its cafes and use its restrooms without making a purchase.

More than 175,000 employees are required to attend the training.

The decision to close stores to run the workshop was made in April, after two black men were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks and partial video of the incident went viral.

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"I'm embarrassed, ashamed. I think what occurred was reprehensible at every single level".

Many retailers including Walmart and Target said they already offer some racial bias training. For example, if another white manager chooses to call the cops on a Black man for simply sitting in the store, would that employee be fired?

The company plans to share its materials with the public after the training, and hopes that other businesses will make use of the tools in their own workplaces.

Ifill said that Starbucks management received a version of the bias training this week.

Starbucks is shutting down for the afternoon on Tuesday, May 29, to provide anti-racial bias training for its employees. A guide advises staff to consider whether the actions they take would apply to any customer in the same situation. The arrests sparked protests against the Starbucks and CEO Kevin Johnson later released a public apology. Starbucks said the training is the first step in establishing a foundation for "a longer-term Starbucks anti-bias, diversity, equity and inclusion effort".

The program has been developed in conjunction with representatives of the Equal Justice Initiative, the NAACP, Demos and the Anti-Defamation League, as well as former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and a consultancy called the Perception Institute. "Why not have an open door policy", said one New Yorker.