More than 8,000 Starbucks to close for anti-bias training
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Starbucks will close around 8,000 of its stores across the U.S. on Tuesday for sessions to educate staffers on unconscious bias and racism.

The closures follows the arrests of two African-American men in a Philadelphia Starbucks. The men were arrested after a manager called the police on them for trespassing while they waited on a friend to join them to order.

A letter from the coffee chain's CEO Howard Schultz stated that the stores would close "for several hours" and that approximately 175,000 Starbucks employees would be involved in the training.


"Discussing racism and discrimination is not easy, and various people have helped us create a learning experience that we hope will be educational, participatory and make us a better company," Schultz said in the letter.

"We want this to be an open and honest conversation starting with our partners. We will also make the curriculum available to the public," he added.

Schultz called the events at the Philadelphia store "reprehensible" in his letter, and said the closures were an opportunity for the company's employees to reflect on internal biases and racism.

"The incident has prompted us to reflect more deeply on all forms of bias, the role of our stores in communities and our responsibility to ensure that nothing like this happens again at Starbucks. The reflection has led to a long-term commitment to reform systemwide policies, while elevating inclusion and equity in all we do," he wrote.

Earlier this month the company issued a separate apology after a customer reportedly found a racial slur written on his cup after ordering a beverage at a Los Angeles Starbucks.

“This is not indicative of the type of experience we want our customers to have when they walk into our stores. We have apologized to the customer directly and are working to make things right," the company said in a statement.