Starbucks closes thousands of locations for anti-bias training

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WOODBURY -

More than 8,000 company-owned Starbucks locations closed for several hours to give 175,000 employees mandatory anti-bias training.

The training was sparked by widespread backlash after a Starbucks manager in Philadelphia called the police on two black men. They were accused of trespassing since they had not purchased anything and were waiting for a friend.

The company's CEO Kevin Johnson apologized for what many called a clear case of racial profiling.

Starbucks employees watched an eight-minute video during the racial sensitivity training, aimed at helping workers learn how to address implicit bias, promote inclusion and prevent discrimination.

Tracey Edwards, the Long Island Regional Director of NAACP, says it's a good way to start the conversation to address racial inequity.

“Starbucks made an intentional decision to be true their company mission and their values of inclusiveness and belonging to a community. So, I think it's a great first step,” she said.

Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks, says Tuesday’s training is only the beginning. He says the training will be a requirement for all new hires before they start working from now on.

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