Diversity Leaders: Starbucks’ Anti-Bias Training Lacking, Needs ‘Racial Equity Overhaul’

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

Diversity leaders are calling on Starbucks to undergo a “racial equity overhaul,” following the company’s anti-bias training initiative in May.

In a report authored by Heather McGhee, president of progressive think tank Demo, and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s Sherrilyn Ifill, the two diversity advisers say the coffee giant should introduce civil rights audits and increase racial sensitivity training for its executives.

Ifill said following the report’s release:

Our report lays the groundwork for Starbucks to review and strengthen its existing policies to prioritize racial equity and the dignity of all customers. We hope companies across industry will use our recommendations as a blueprint for transforming their anti-bias and inclusion practices, and that they will engage people inside and out of their corporations to ensure everyone can enjoy their services free from fear of discrimination.

Starbucks should appoint an “independent racial equity consultant,” to oversee the implementation of the report’s recommendations, while increasing participation in community outreach programs, say Ifill and McGhee.

The report includes feedback from Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, the two men police arrested on April 12.

As Breitbart News reported, the arrest prompted a social media backlash with Twitter users urging people to #BoycottStarbucks.

Vivek Varma, Starbucks executive vice president of public affairs, praised the report and said the company is in the process of implementing some of the report’s findings.

“We want to thank the advisors and all of the people who offered their counsel, recommendations and advice,” Varma said in a statement.  “We’re listening and reflecting. We’re open minded and have more to do.”

Starbucks temporarily closed 8,000 of its stores on May 29 to provide anti-bias training to its baristas in response to the arrests.


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