Published On: Wed, Dec 17th, 2014

Howard Schultz and Starbucks Partners Talk About Race

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz

Howard Schultz, the Starbucks CEO who has tackled political and social issues before, such as sustainability, the government shutdown and the availability of a college education for all, has created an open dialogue about race among Starbucks partners in the wake of the Michael Brown and the Ferguson protests, as reported by Time.

Schultz released a letter to his employees, in which he wrote, “We cannot continue to come to work every day aware of the difficult painful experience facing our nation, and not acknowledge them together as a company.” Concerning racial issues, “We should be willing to talk about them internally. Not to point fingers or to place blame and not because we have the answers, but because staying silent is not who we are.”

Schultz announced an Open Forum at the Starbucks Support Center in Seattle, and described the event. “For an hour the microphone passed from partner to partner. People spoke with grace and emotion.” Schultz concluded, “The forum was at times uncomfortable, yet overall, it was enlightening. It provided many of us, myself included, with a deeper understanding around issues of race and the realities facing our country.”

Schultz said this particular Open Forum “was the most powerful I’ve attended in the 25 years Starbucks has been holding them for partners around the world.”


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