As part of Starbuck’s four-hour training session last Tuesday, participants watched a short film by Stanley Nelson designed to heighten the viewer’s awareness of how profiling affects diverse communities. The video features the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s Sherrilyn Ifill who served as Senior Consultant for the project. During the video a narrator comments that even though discrimination in public spaces has been against the law since the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, changing the law doesn’t always change reality. And being allowed in doesn’t always mean being welcomed.
NPR’s Joel Rose reports that Alexis McGill Johnson, co-founder of the Perception Institute, which helped design the sessions for Starbucks said the goal of the program is to create “more awareness of how bias works,” and to give Starbucks employees tools to apply that awareness on the job. Starbucks executives stressed that Tuesday’s store closing is just a first step. There are plans for more employee training, and outsider advisers are looking at other steps the company can take.
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