This comes after two African-American men were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks after asking to use the restroom without making a purchase. The men declined and called the police. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross also issued a public apology and all charges against the men were dropped. More than 175,000 employees were expected to participate.
Most of Arizona's standalone locations were scheduled to close for the day starting at 2, 2:15 or 2:30 p.m.
Earlier this month, the two Black men who were arrested reached a settlement with Philadelphia. The last time the company did something similar was in 2008, when the struggling chain shut down all United States locations to retrain employees on improving the "Starbucks Experience" by boosting technical abilities and customer service - a decision that cost the chain $6 million.
Most of the company's 7,000 licensed stores operated by grocery stores, hotels, universities and airports will remain open but their employees will be able to take part in the training later. An employee told them it was only for paying customers. "And one of the things, one of the initiatives, I worked with him on was getting jobs for people in underserved communities", Common said. "We need to start".
"I think in an instance like this, they have a lot at stake", said Trish Waits, who was locked out. "It gives me peace of mind knowing I won't be attacked because of the color of my skin", she said.
At Caffe Luce, near campus, the training has been a topic of conversation.
He mounted the campaign in response to racial strife in Ferguson, Mo., and said he felt "we had to do something". "We have a very diverse people who come in". "'Why do we have to do this?'" Hornes said.
Starbucks officials say the curriculum will set the foundation for a longer-term anti-bias, diversity, equity, and inclusion effort.
"Having people present who are external to the diversity training process like members of the media changes the group dynamics and may make some members less likely to be share or receive needed information thereby undermining the objective of the training", she said.
There were exercises of personal reflection asking people to think about when they have thought about their own race, how it has affected their day-to-day lives and interactions with other people. "But they have to be reminded they are not different".