Tuesday, Starbucks will close 8,000 of its stores to train 175,000 employees on anti-implicit racial bias guidelines. The training comes after two black men were arrested inside a Starbucks coffee shop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Leaders of the coffee giant apologized for the event and quickly pledged to create training curriculum to address the problem.
Meanwhile, community leaders in Dallas are using the incidents to shine a light on the broader and pervasive issues of explicit and implicit bias and how they impact people, particularly those of marginalized groups, in society. The event is called "Coffee Break," and will be hosted by several groups, including the Dallas Bar Association.
"Coffee" stands for Communities Organized for Fairness Equality and Empowerment.
The mission behind the town hall is to facilitate dialogue on the pervasive issues of explicit and implicit bias in our society, as well as to craft a statement reaffirming our community's collective commitment to diversity and inclusion.
“It’s extremely harmful not to address problems we know exist, and even more harmful to deny the existence of explicit and implicit bias,” said Dallas attorney Paul K. Stafford. “The goal is to take a pro-active approach, a continuing discussion and an interactive approach to addressing issues that are embedded in American society. Bias impacts hiring practices, the way in which we interact with one another. If we’re truly a society that values equality and diversity, we have to talk about these thing."
Experts say unconscious bias impacts or behavior and treatment toward others in ways we don't recognize. Researchers at Harvard University created an "Implicit Association Test." The test is free and allows anyone to gauge their level of bias. You can access the test here.
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Faith leaders, politicians, members of the Dallas-Fort Worth civic, corporate, and professional communities will be in attendance.
"Coffee Break" is from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
2101 Ross Ave.
The event is free and open to the public.