Starbucks Reverses Ban on Employees Wearing Black Lives Matter Attire

A Venti Mocha Frappuccino is displayed at a Starbucks, Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in New York. The 24 fluid ounces drink has 520 calories, according to Starbucks. Starbucks says sales for its frozen coffee drink are down, and is blaming concerns about sugar and calories. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Starbucks Coffee Company will now allow its partners to wear Black Lives Matter (BLM) shirts and other accessories, the company announced Friday.

“In response to this historic time, our store partners can also show support for the Black Lives Matter movement with their own t-shirts, pins and name tags,” Starbucks tweeted:

In a letter to employees, the company said it was responding to their requests to be allowed to express themselves at work.

“We see you. We hear you. Black Lives Matter. That is a fact and will never change. This movement is a catalyst for change, and right now, it’s telling us a lot of things need to be addressed so we can make space to heal,” the document read.

 It continued:
As we talked about earlier this week, we’re designing new t-shirts with the graphic below to demonstrate our allyship and show we stand together in unity. Until these arrive, we’ve heard you want to show your support, so just be you. Wear your BLM pin or t-shirt. We are so proud of your passionate support of our common humanity. We trust you to do what’s right while never forgetting Starbucks is a welcoming third place where all are treated with dignity and respect.

The decision comes after Starbucks sent out an email last week that essentially banned its partners from wearing clothes or accessories that showed support for BLM.

The memo, obtained by BuzzFeed News, told workers that merchandise with certain messages on it was prohibited if it “advocated a political, religious or personal issue.”

However, the company said Friday that its Black Partner Network and allies designed its new T-shirts to “recognize the historic significance of this time.”

The letter stated:

Together, we’re saying: Black Lives Matter and it’s going to take ALL of us, working together, to affect change. That means using our voice to vote in our elections, volunteering in our black communities, joining local peaceful protests, ensuring our diverse slates of job candidates translate into diverse hires, mentoring and sponsoring partners of color so they can reach their maximum potential and taking steps to build greater understanding with empathy. Most importantly, it means ensuring we create a safe third place where you are seen, heard and valued.

“You’ll receive additional operational guidance by Monday, June 15. We are in this together, always,” the document concluded.

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