Starbucks will allow employees to wear Black Lives Matter shirts, pins

Prior to Friday's statement, many called for Starbucks boycott

BySamantha Chatman WLS logo
Friday, June 12, 2020
Starbucks designing new T-shirt in support of Black Lives Matter after controversial clothing, accessories policy
Starbucks is designing new T-shirts in support of Black Lives Matter after an earlier alleged policy drew social media backlash.

Starbucks is speaking out after reports of an alleged policy that bans its employees from wearing accessories or clothing related to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Many on social media expressed their disgust and anger after learning about this alleged rule, calling on others to boycott Starbucks.

In a statement to the ABC 7 Chicago I-Team, Starbucks said:

"Know you've been following Starbucks as we continue to listen to our partners (employees) about how they want to take a stand for justice, while proudly wearing the green apron and standing united together. We will continue to work closely with community leaders, civil rights leaders, organizations, and our partners to understand the role that Starbucks can play, and to show up in a positive way for our communities.

Starbucks stands in solidarity with our Black partners, community and customers, and understand the desire to express themselves. As our latest step towards this commitment, we are partnering with the Starbucks Black Partner Network and Black Starbucks leaders to make 250,000 shirts available to our company-operated partners in U.S. and Canada to affirm our support at this critical time in our history. This small effort allows us to abide by store policies that are designed to maintain a safe and welcoming sense of community. Until these shirts arrive in stores, partners will be able to wear their BLM pin or t-shirt in passionate support of their community and humanity.

Rossann Williams, Roz Brewer and Zing Shaw penned a letter to partners this morning that shared more specifics. You can find it here."

Earlier this month, after the death of George Floyd, Starbucks said "We are committed to taking action, learning and supporting our Black partners, customers and communities."

In 2018, the company faced intense scrutiny after two black men were arrested for sitting in a Philadelphia Starbucks without buying anything.

After that incident, Starbucks closed more than 8,000 cafes across the U.S. to hold training for employees on recognizing hidden prejudices.

Read Starbucks' full statement here:

"We have always led with Our Mission and Values. Through every moment in our history, and in every crisis, Starbucks has come together to show: We will not be bystanders. This has never been more true than today.

These are alarming, uncertain times and people everywhere are hurting. You've told us you need a way to express yourself at work, asking:

Do you understand how I feel!?
Do you understand the black community is in pain?

We see you. We hear you. Black Lives Matter. That is a fact and will never change.
This movement is a catalyst for change, and right now, it's telling us a lot of things need to be addressed so we can make space to heal.

As we talked about earlier this week, we're designing new t-shirts with the graphic below to demonstrate our allyship and show we stand together in unity. Until these arrive, we've heard you want to show your support, so just be you. Wear your BLM pin or t-shirt. We are so proud of your passionate support of our common humanity. We trust you to do what's right while never forgetting Starbucks is a welcoming third place where all are treated with dignity and respect.

Designed for partners, by partners, our Starbucks Black Partner Network and allies created the t-shirt to recognize the historic significance of this time. Together, we're saying: Black Lives Matter and it's going to take ALL of us, working together, to affect change. That means using our voice to vote in our elections, volunteering in our black communities, joining local peaceful protests, ensuring our diverse slates of job candidates translate into diverse hires, mentoring and sponsoring partners of color so they can reach their maximum potential and taking steps to build greater understanding with empathy. Most importantly, it means ensuring we create a safe third place where you are seen, heard and valued.

You'll receive additional operational guidance by Monday, June 15.

We are in this together, always."