Local coffee drinkers react to Starbucks diversity training

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Starbucks shut its roughly 8,000 company-owned stores for the closed-door training, but it let a few reporters interview some senior managers, including Ruffin, after they went through the four-hour session in Brooklyn.

The curriculum used in the sessions was developed with input from the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Perception Institute and other social advocacy organizations.

Following the incident, protesters have been calling for a Starbucks boycott.

The training was not mandatory, but Starbucks said it expected nearly all of the 175,000 employees at 8,000 stores to participate and said they would be paid for the full four hours.

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One Starbucks customer at the Michigan Avenue location who asked not to be named had forgotten the closure was May 29 but knew about the mandatory training. Nordstrom has said it plans to enhance its training after apologizing to three black teenagers in Missouri who were falsely accused by employees of shoplifting.

A shift supervisor at the West Palmetto Street location said the goal of the store's closing was for employees "not to be biased, and for everybody to feel welcome coming into Starbucks".

After Nelson and Robinson stepped into the cafe, one of them asked to use the restroom while waiting for a third person to arrive for a business meeting. He added that Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson has agreed to mentor them.

He added that the company, which has 25,000 coffee shops in 70 countries, promised to integrate further training in the U.S. and around the world. Schultz said the woman "wanted us to understand the imprinting of that experience on her life", and that the group was so moved during the conversation that they paused for a short break. They also accepted from the city of Philadelphia a symbolic $1 each and a promise to launch a $200,000 program for young entrepreneurs.

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Nelson and Robinson reached an agreement with Starbucks for an undisclosed amount of money and offers of a free education. They are open today for regular hours. Speaking to reporters last week, they said they would publish a report this summer about how Starbucks can address issues of bias "in a comprehensive way".

One afternoon wouldn't really be "moving the needle on the biases", he said, especially since Starbucks has so many employees and they may not stay very long.

Many retailers, including Walmart and Target, said they already offer some racial bias training.

The training, which will be provided to approximately 175,00 employees across the country, is in response to public outcry following a recent racial incident at a store in Philadelphia, Penn.

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