WASHINGTON, D.C. – Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, issued the following statement Monday following the arrest of two African American men in a Philadelphia Starbucks and a new incident in California:
“It is time to eliminate racism and discrimination that continues to infect every stage of our economy, root and branch. Federal, state and local laws across our country make clear that public accommodations like Starbucks must make their doors equally open to all on the basis of race. The decision by a Starbucks employee to call law enforcement in response to two African American men sitting in its store was unnecessary and action that could have proven deadly for these men. 50 years ago, peaceful demonstrators launched sit-ins to desegregate lunch counters and today we are still fighting to ensure that our public establishments are equally open to all.
It is vital that Starbucks understands the cultural climate in which they conduct business. Starbucks must undertake a meaningful overhaul of its policies, practices, and procedures to ensure an inclusive, safe, and respectful environment for its customers.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has requested a meeting with Mr. Kevin Johnson, the CEO of Starbucks, to discuss its plans for confronting this crisis and to help ensure that that the store fully eliminates and prevent future instances of discrimination inside its stores.”
A copy of the letter sent to Mr. Johnson can be found here.