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Starbucks to close over 8,000 stores today for racial bias training

More than 8,000 Starbucks Coffee stores will close today, May 29, 2018 for a company-wide training session on racial bias following an April incident at a Philadelphia location.

Starbucks has shared a “preview video” of what employees and the public can expect from the training session dubbed “5/29.”

TRENDING COVERAGE: Some local Starbucks cafes will not close today for racial bias training

The video features footage of the Philadelphia incident in which police were called on two black men who were sitting at a table in Starbucks and refused to leave when asked. The video includes cameos from celebrities, including the artist Common and filmmaker Stanley Nelson along with store managers and employees.

 

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Leaders from the Equal Justice Initiative, Demos and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People helped to create the “curriculum” for Starbucks’ training day, according to the company.

“Our hope is that these learning sessions and discussions will make a difference within and beyond our stores. After May 29, we will make the curriculum available to the public and share it with the regions as well as our licensed and business partners…May 29 isn’t a solution, it’s a first step,” Rossann Williams, Starbucks executive vice president said in a note to the company on May 22.

The training is the coffee chain’s response to an April 12 incident during which two men had asked to use the restroom at a Philadelphia Starbucks. An employee refused because they had not purchased anything. The two men then sat down in the store and an employee asked them to leave but they declined, the Associated Press reports.

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Local Black Lives Matter activist Asa Khalif, left, stands inside the Starbucks at 18th and Spruce, and over a bullhorn, demands the firing of the manager that called police, which resulted in two black men being arrested. On Sunday April 15, 2018, protesters demonstrated outside the Starbucks and planned to return Monday. (Michael Bryant//Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS) (Staff Writer)

The store manager, Holly Hylton, 31, originally from Dayton then sparked a nationwide controversy after she called police on the two men. Hylton is no longer working at the Starbucks located in the downtown area of Philadelphia, a spokeswoman told several media outlets since the incident occurred in early April.

Hylton has not answered calls from this news organization and neither did some of her relatives. Since the incident, she appears to have deactivated her social media accounts.

Hylton graduated from Wright State University in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish, according to the university. She studied at Sinclair Community College from 2005 to 2011, a Sinclair spokesman said.

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