Starbucks is closing 8,000 stores to educate employees on race.

After an embattled few days, Starbucks caught the attention of millions on Tuesday, April 17, when they announced that they would close 8,000 of its stores for what is being called "racial-bias training."

The training will take place on May 29, and an estimated 175,000 Starbucks employees will take part.

The announcement comes a day after Johnson gave his first public interview since two young black men were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks when a manager called the police on them. Outrage over the incident went viral, leading to responses from the city's mayor and U.S. Senator Bob Casey:


The store manager who called the police has since left the company. Johnson traveled to Philadelphia where he met privately with the two men and earned some praise for his no-nonsense apology.

"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," he said in a statement announcing the store closures.

Several groups will help plan the training and monitor its progress.

It could be easy and understandable to write this off as a public relations stunt. After all, the stores will only be closed for a few hours and the exact conditions of the training are still being formulated.

However, Starbucks revealed that former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder will help plan out the training, along with NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill, and Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, amongst others.

"The company's founding values are based on humanity and inclusion," Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz said. "We will learn from our mistakes and reaffirm our commitment to creating a safe and welcoming environment for every customer."

One day of training won't end systemic racism — but it's another step toward progress.

Changing cultural norms about race will take a relentless pursuit of justice. It won't happen overnight and it can't be done in a few hours. That's something even Kevin Johnson himself acknowledged, saying:

"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."

Still, the move by Starbucks sends a message that most people in the company want to do better, and those affected by racism and other forms of prejudice are increasingly being heard and seen when others speak out.

More

Image by Brent Connelly from Pixabay and sixthformpoet / Twitter

Twitter user Matt, who goes by the name @SixthFormPoet, shared a dark love story on Twitter that's been read by nearly 600,000 people. It starts in a graveyard and feels like it could be the premise for a Tim Burton film.

While it's hard to verify whether the story is true, Matt insists that it's real, so we'll believe him.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

"Clay's tallest story" is one we should all stop to listen to, no matter how much we think we know about mental health. What starts off as a forgettable fishing video quickly turns into a powerful metaphor about mental health.

What would you do if an unexpected gust of wind pushed your boat out to sea? You'd call for help. It's so obvious, why would anyone think differently? But when it comes to our mental health, things often appear so much more unnecessarily complicated. Thanks for the reminder, Clay!


Clay’s Tallest Story www.youtube.com

Heroes
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Approximately 10% of the population is left-handed, and the balance between lefties and righties has been the same for almost 5,000 years. People used to believe that left-handed people were evil or unlucky. The word "sinister" is even derived from the Latin word for "left."

In modern times, the bias against lefties for being different is more benign – spiral notebooks are a torture device, and ink gets on their hands like a scarlet letter. Now, a new study conducted at the University of Oxford and published in Brain is giving left-handers some good news. While left-handers have been struggling with tools meant for right-handers all these years, it turns out, they actually possess superior verbal skills.

Researchers looked at the DNA of 400,000 people in the U.K. from a volunteer bank. Of those 400,000 people, 38,332 were southpaws. Scientists were able to find the differences in genes between lefties and righties, and that these genetic variants resulted in a difference in brain structure, too. "It tells us for the first time that handedness has a genetic component," Gwenaëlle Douaud, joint senior author of the study and a fellow at Oxford's Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, told the BBC.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Pete the Plant is a maidenhair fern living in the Rainforest Life exhibit at the London Zoo, but Pete the Plant isn't like other plants. Pete the Plant is also a budding photographer. Scientists in the Zoological Society of London's (ZSL) conservation tech unit has been teaching the plant how to take selfies.

The ZSL held a competition in partnership with Open Plant, Cambridge University, and the Arribada Initiative for the design of a fuel cell powered by plants. Plant E in the Netherlands produced the winning design. The prototype cell creates electricity from the waste from the plant's roots. The electricity will be used to charge a battery that's attached to a camera. Once Pete the Plant grows strong enough, it will then use the camera to take a selfie. Not too bad for a plant.

"As plants grow, they naturally deposit biomatter into the soil they're planted in, which bacteria in the soil feeds on – this creates energy that can be harnessed by fuel cells and used to power a wide range of conservation tools," Al Davies, ZSL's conservation technology specialist, explains.

RELATED: This plant might be the answer to water pollution we've been searching for

Keep Reading Show less
Innovation