PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new racial bias training video by Starbucks comes after the controversial arrest of two black men in Philadelphia last month.
The video that will be released next week is reportedly intense, as Starbucks is taking unprecedented steps to address racial bias.
A state lawmaker is encouraged by what he’s seen so far but he tells Eyewitness News much more needs to be done at companies nationwide.
The video is a response to the arrest of two black men at a Center City Starbucks last month. They initially asked to use the bathroom as they waited for a business meeting but they were denied, saying it was for paying customers only.
The incident sparked outrage and protests, as well as calls for increased diversity and sensitivity training at its stores.
State Rep. Jordan Harris, who is also the head of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, has helped to spearhead some of the changes that Starbucks is looking to implement.
“I’ve been in contact with Starbucks on a weekly basis,” Harris said.
He has seen the nearly eight-minute long video that Starbucks will be showing all of its employees during the training.
“I was shocked, to be honest, with the direction Starbucks was going with the video,” he said.
We aren’t privy to seeing that video but Harris did say the video cuts to the very core of racism and the history of segregation in the United States of America.
The coffee chain will be closing 8,000 stores in the United States on May 29 to conduct the training.
Harris believes it’s a start in a long and lasting conversation about race relations.
“I appreciate Starbucks being at the starting line of this race but I think all corporate people need to be at the starting line,” Harris said.
Starbucks is continuing to tweak its policies. Most recently, it is allowing its bathrooms to be open to anyone, not just paying customers.