Tags: starbucks | race relations | race together | Howard Schultz | usa today

Starbucks Urging People to Talk About Race Relations

Image: Starbucks Urging People to Talk About Race Relations
(Lucy Nicholson/Reuters/Landov)

By    |   Tuesday, 17 Mar 2015 11:24 AM

Starting Monday, customers entering Starbucks for a cup of coffee may be surprised to find themselves receiving a cup with "Race Together" handwritten on it, and running into a barista wanting to discuss race relations in America.

It's all part of Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz's newest political move to tackle troubled race relations by getting people, over coffee, to chat about them, Politico reports.

It's not the first time Starbucks has dealt with controversial political issues. Politico notes that in 2013, Starbucks urged an end to the government shutdown and, in 2012, it came out in favor of same-sex marriage.

The company has also asked gun owners to refrain from carrying weapons into their 4,700 U.S. stores, made outside tables non-smoking, launched a fund to surge job creation and pledged to hire 10,000 veterans and spouses over five years, Fortune reported.

In an open letter to employees, Schultz said, "I’ve always believed that core to our success has been our commitment to achieve the balance between our social conscience and responsible commerce. This is one of those times."

"We at Starbucks should be willing to talk about these issues in America," Schultz said.

"Not to point fingers or to place blame, and not because we have answers, but because staying silent is not who we are."

"Like many of you these past weeks," Schultz wrote, "I have watched with a heavy heart as tragic events and unrest have unfolded across America, from Ferguson, Missouri, to New York City to Oakland, California."

Starbucks is partnering with USA Today on the new initiative with a series of supplements on race relations, beginning Friday, which will also be distributed at Starbucks shops, USA Today reported.

The insert includes a letter from Schultz and Larry Kramer, USA Today publisher, which states, "Racial diversity is the story of America, our triumphs as well as our faults. Yet racial inequality is not a topic we readily discuss. It's time to start.

"'Race Together' is not a solution, but it is an opportunity to begin to re-examine how we can create a more empathetic and inclusive society, one conversation at a time," USA Today reports.

The idea is to start conversations. Schultz instructed employees that if a customer asks what the "Race Together" on their cup means, "Try to engage in a discussion that we have problems in this country in regards to race. And we believe that we are better than this, and we believe our country is better than this," USA Today reported.

Starbucks will continue the initiative with a series of partner forums in Oakland, St. Louis, and New York, Schultz said.

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Starting Monday, customers entering Starbucks for a cup of coffee may be surprised to find themselves receiving a cup with Race Together handwritten on it, and running into a barista wanting to discuss race relations in America.
starbucks, race relations, race together, Howard Schultz, usa today
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2015-24-17
Tuesday, 17 Mar 2015 11:24 AM
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