As I write this on the afternoon of May 29th, Starbucks employees in 8,000 stores are participating in a company-wide training about racial bias. Above is the trailer that Starbucks used to set expectations and prepare people for the day’s activities. In all transparency, Race Forward’s new President, Glenn Harris and I had a call with SY Partners, the consultants working with Starbucks on this project. The video presents the day as the beginning of a long process to make Starbucks a welcoming place for all.
The Perception Institute designed today’s training. I’ve worked closely with its principals, Alexis McGill Johnson and Rachel Godsil, and I have so much respect for both. They have a particular history in working to change perceptions of Black men and boys. It’s worth taking a look at their resources, which are innovative and substantial.
This is an enormous, complex project involving people of many different identities. I am predicting that there will be many, many critiques of the day. Buth it’s worth appreciating how quickly Starbucks has put this together and how challenging it is to deliver a high-quality conversation simultaneously to people in thousands of different settings. Running racial justice training in a way that unites rather than divides is entirely possible, but it requires resources. Starbucks seems to be taking that notion seriously.
We’ll know in a couple of hours, but it seems to me that Starbucks employees are in good hands today.