Today Starbucks made good on its promise to open in Ferguson, Missouri — the site of racially-tinged tension and rampant unemployment.
“We at Starbucks should be willing to talk about these issues in America,” Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said. “Not to point fingers or to place blame, and not because we have answers, but because staying silent is not who we are."
Last year, after announcing an initiative to open up a discussion on race, the international coffee brand said that it would be opening locations in impoverished neighborhoods to create job opportunities for those in need and support efforts to rebuild the surrounding community. Starbucks wants to hire at least 10,000 young people across the country.
“Some people don’t have anybody to turn to, so when they come into the store I want to make them feel better,” said Adrienne, an employee at the Ferguson location. “I want them to leave with a smile knowing that someone cares. I know what it’s like to feel alone and not have someone to turn to for comfort, and I also know that amazing things can happen when you show you care.”
Starbucks will be opening 15 more locations in similar communities across the country by 2018. The first of these opened in Jamaica, Queens.