Starbucks closes more than 8,000 stores for sensitivity training - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Starbucks closes more than 8,000 stores for sensitivity training

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Image Courtesy: MGN Online/ Matteo Doni Image Courtesy: MGN Online/ Matteo Doni

Starbucks shut its doors early Tuesday after trouble brewed surrounding the arrest of two black men last month.

Now, employees are taking the afternoon for sensitivity training nationwide.

More than 8,000 Starbucks across the country shut down for the training, which included several locations in western Massachusetts.

This all stems from an arrest of two black men waiting on a friend in a Philadelphia Starbucks.

A store denied one man from using the bathroom, and called police on the men for trespassing when they did not make a purchase.

"There has been racial inequality going on forever, and social media is bringing it all to a head so we’ve actually been seeing what’s going on," said Springfield resident Michael Gorecki. 
Customers caught the arrest on camera then posted it on social media.
"I didn’t know anything like that could happen at Starbucks," said Enfield resident Veronica Quinones. 
The coffee chain apologized and reached a financial settlement with the two men.

Starbucks also launched a new policy allowing anyone to use the restroom whether they are a paying customer or not,
and Tuesday’s training is the next step.

"It’s a good thing what Starbucks is doing," said Gorecki. 
Western Mass News reached out to Starbucks, which they replied in a statement that wrote:

“Our hope is that these learning sessions and discussions will make a difference within and beyond our stores. By educating ourselves on understanding bias and how it affects our lives and the lives of the people we encounter and serve, we renew our commitment to making the third place welcoming and safe for everyone.”
"I actually love Starbucks I love the environment, the atmosphere is great, but I could see how something like this could happen," Quinones continued. 
Starbucks told Western Mass News that this is only the first step, not the full solution.

The company said they plan on sharing the content of Tuesday's training with the public at a later date.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. 

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