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Starbucks Launches Race Together Initiative


Starbucks shops around the country are going to percolate with the "hot-button issue" in the US today: race.

Race Together is Starbucks' CEO Howard Schultz' bold initiative which he recently launched in order to encourage his employees to strike up conversations with customers about "arguably the most polarizing political debate in the United States: race relations," according to a news report by The Fortune.

This initiative was announced through a full page ad in the New York Times on Sunday, together with a similar one on Monday in USA Today. As part of its collaboration with the coffee chain's latest campaign, USA Today is going to include in each copy of its newspaper "the first of a series of insert with information about race relations, including a variety of perspectives on race. Starbucks coffee shops will also stock the insert."

Chairman and CEO Schulz spoke to nearly 200,000 workers, 40% of whom are members of a racial minority,in a video address telling them that race is not "too hot a topic business-wise for Starbucks to tackle."

“I reject that. I reject that completely,” he said in the video address. “It’s an emotional issue. But it is so vitally important to the country,” he continued.

The National Press Corporation has curated strong reactions regarding Race Together in an article,"Here's What People Are Saying About Starbucks' 'Race Together' Campaign." Read More...

Engaging people with a controversial topic such as race may not be easy and will surely create some form of unease; yet an activity like this can pave the way to better understanding, compassion and peace. It is worth a try.

At the same time, according to the news, Starbucks says its baristas will be under no obligation to engage with customers on the topic. The goal is simply to foster discussion and an exchange of ideas.

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