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Starbucks will close all its company-owned stores on May 29 to provide racial sensitivity training to employees

[FILE] A close-up photograph showing a Starbucks logo printed on the side of a clear plastic cup.

PHILADELPHIA — Starbucks will close 8,000 of its company-owned U.S. stores on May 29 to conduct racial-bias education geared toward preventing discrimination in its stores, the company announced Tuesday in a press release.

The training will be provided to nearly 175,000 employees across the country, and will become part of the training process for new hires, the company says.

“I’ve spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it,” said Starbucks ceo Kevin Johnson in the announcement. “While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution. Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.”

All Starbucks company-owned retail stores and corporate offices will be closed on May 29 while its employees go through training designed to “address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome,” the company’s announcement says.

 “The company’s founding values are based on humanity and inclusion,” said executive chairman Howard Schultz, who joined Johnson and other senior Starbucks leaders in Philadelphia to meet with community leaders and Starbucks partners. “We will learn from our mistakes and reaffirm our commitment to creating a safe and welcoming environment for every customer.”

According to Starbucks, the curriculum will be developed with guidance from several national and local experts confronting racial bias, 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.