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Starbucks to Close 8,000 U.S. Locations for ‘Racial Bias Training’

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Starbucks will close 8,000 of its company-owned stores in the U.S. on May 29 for one afternoon to make its employees undergo “racial bias training.”

The company said that 175,000 workers would receive this training, which former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder and other experts would have a hand in designing, CNN Money reported.

Other experts responsible for designing the training include executives from progressive think tank Demos, the Equal Justice Initiative, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill, and Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.

These experts would also be responsible for judging the training’s effectiveness.

“I’ve spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it,” Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a statement.

“While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution,” he said. “Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.”

CNBC reported that once the company-owned locations complete the training, the company will make the training available to its licensed partners.

The company’s announcement comes after employees at a Philadelphia Starbucks called the police on two black men Saturday, leading to their arrest for trespassing. No charges were filed 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.

A company spokesperson said Johnson met with the two men Monday and apologized. Starbucks also said the manager who called the police is “no longer at that store,” but did not elaborate on the specifics of the employee’s removal from the store.

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