- On April 18, 2018
Over the years, many people have asked me about my experience at Starbucks, and I always say it’s the best company I have ever worked for. I take great pride in my connection to Starbucks, which is a caring and humane company that puts positive social change ahead of profit. I stand by these statements and in my belief that Starbucks always strives to do the right thing.
From personal experience, I’d like to add that when Starbucks or partners (employees) make mistakes, immediate action is taken to try to correct them.
These are trying times, which brings us to the incident in a Philadelphia Starbucks store. Two Black men, peacefully waiting for a friend, were arrested by police for trespassing following a call from the store manager, who is no longer with the company. Since this happened, my friends and family have blown up my phone, inbox and text messages asking questions and voicing opinions.
In case they haven’t been following the story closely, I tell them that Starbucks recognized the horrible “wrong” in the situation and took swift action to try to make it “right.” Several members of the Starbucks executive leadership team flew from Seattle to Philadelphia to address the issue and have done the following so far:
- Kevin Johnson, Starbucks ceo, publicly apologized for the incident, which was documented in several news reports;
- Kevin met with the two men on Monday and personally apologized in a private meeting;
- Kevin also met with Philadelphia’s mayor and police commissioner;
- Starbucks will close all 8,000 company-owned stores on May 29 to conduct racial-bias education for nearly 175,000 U.S. partners; and
- To show the company’s seriousness about addressing this matter, it has engaged national and local voices in this space including Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; Heather McGhee, president of Demos; former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder; and Jonathan Greenblatt, ceo of the Anti-Defamation League.
Personally, I regret that the incident occurred, especially since I know that this behavior is not tolerated by the company. I applaud Starbucks leadership for having the moral courage to say, “We’re sorry.” Starbucks has always tried to make sure that everyone feels safe and welcome at their stores. Their response demonstrates that going forward the company will try even harder.