Perhaps Starbucks’ plan to ease national racial tensions one latte at a time got off the wrong foot. It’s been one month since Starbucks announced (and got serious flack for) its #RaceTogether campaign, in which baristas were asked to write the hashtag slogan on customer cups, supposedly inviting conversation about race. The campaign ended almost as quickly as it was announced.
However, during a presentation to stockholders, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz reiterated his commitment to reinvigorate the conversation about race, and announced plans to open a Starbucks in Ferguson, Missouri, the country’s current hotbed of racial tension after the infamous shooting of Michael Brown. According to Fortune Magazine, the purpose of opening the store would be to “create employment opportunities” in the depressed area where unemployment rates are 13 percent, or roughly double the nationwide unemployment rate.
Schultz also stated that the company will continue to do all it can to fight racism and inequality in this country, and said that Starbucks plans to “to build more stores in urban neighborhoods.”
“We take seriously the needs for Starbucks to have a presence in all types of communities in the United States,” a Starbucks spokesperson told The Daily Meal. “We are planning to open a net 300 stores in fiscal year 2015, many in communities like Ferguson. Howard mentioned in a letter in March that we have a lot of Racetogether activities planned this year, including more open dialogue with police and community leaders, our commitment to hire 10,000 opportunity youth, as well as to open stores in communities like Ferguson.”