Group Plans to Boycott, Protest 10 Chicago-Area Starbucks Stores Following Philadelphia Arrests

In this March 18, 2015, file photo, a Starbucks barista holds an iced tea drink with a "Race Together" sticker on it at a Starbucks store in Seattle. Three years ago, Starbucks was widely ridiculed for trying to start a national conversation on race relations by asking its employees to …
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

A group is planning to boycott and protest ten Chicago-area Starbucks locations Wednesday in light of the arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks this week.

The Black Star Project, a group that says it is “committed to improving the quality of life in Black and Latino communities of Chicago,” announced that it organized the protests to get corporate America to address racial issues.

“Enough is enough. That’s all we’re saying. It’s not about Starbucks. It certainly is not about coffee. It’s not about one racist individual managing one store in one city. It’s about a culture that has become a part of the very fabric of this county. It needs to change,” Herb Howard of the Black Star Project told WLS.

The group plans to protest the stores for two hours beginning at 11 a.m. Wednesday, and is asking those who demonstrate to pass out fliers, not to block the doors, and be courteous to the customers.

The group is asking demonstrators to buy something if they go inside the stores to use the restroom.

The planned protests are set to take place at the Starbucks stores located at 444 North Michigan Avenue, 200 West Adams, 231 South LaSalle, 25 East Washington, 227 West Monroe, 21 South Clark, 35th and State Street, 4355 North Sheridan Road, 71st and Stony Island, and 55th and Woodlawn.

The protests come days after employees at a Philadelphia Starbucks called the police on two black men Saturday when they asked to use the restroom and did not buy anything from the store.

Police arrested the men for trespassing, although authorities did not file charges against the men.

A video of the encounter went viral on social media, prompting many people to call for a boycott of the coffee chain on Twitter.

Starbucks responded to the incident by sending its CEO to Philadelphia to personally apologize to the men and announced it would close 8,000 of its stores for “racial bias training” for an afternoon next month.