CORRECTION: Local Starbucks to Close Doors May 29 for Racial-Bias Training

Correction, the printed version of this story stated that this racial-bias training would take place on March 29. The correct date of the training is May 29 and local Starbucks to close doors on this date.

Three Starbucks stores in South Pasadena along with more than 8,000 company-owned stores nationwide will be closing their doors during the afternoon of May 29 to conduct racial-bias training for employees following the arrest last week of two African-American men at one of the coffee chain’s locations in Philadelphia, Pa.

The manager of one of the Starbucks in South Pasadena said it was “gratifying to see the company taking the issue seriously.”

“I do think it’s in line with our mission,” said Austin Van Der Veen, who recently took over as manager of the Starbucks at 1000 Fair Oaks Ave. in South Pasadena. “It’s a remarkable commitment and is so encouraging. This is a great company.”

Starbucks also will be closing its corporate offices for the training.

The anti-discrimination training is “designed to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome,” according to the company announcement Tuesday.

Nearly 175,000 employees in the U.S. will receive the training.

The Seattle-based chain received criticism after staff at the Philadelphia location called the police on two men when they didn’t buy anything and asked to use the restrooms.

The two men were told restrooms were for paying customers only. They explained they were waiting for a friend, who arrived later. Police arrested them, though Starbucks didn’t press charges.

The CEO has apologized for Thursday’s incident, and on Monday the coffee giant confirmed the Philadelphia employee who called the police no longer is with Starbucks.

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Steve Whitmore is the editor for the South Pasadena Review. Steve has spent more than four decades as an award-winning print and broadcast journalist with a 16-year stint as the senior media advisor for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Steve comes to us from the Keene Sentinel in Keene, New Hampshire, where he covered politics and was a columnist.