Starbucks partners share how they celebrate Black History Month


October marks Black History Month – an annual opportunity to celebrate the history, achievements and contributions of those with black heritage. This year, we celebrate Black History Month under the notion of “Keep Going” towards racial equity and progression.

The aim of this month is to keep uplifting, educating, inspiring, and supporting the community to push forward by celebrating black positive contributions, challenging our thoughts, and enhancing our cultural awareness.

The Black Partner Network has created artwork that represents the marches and social movements that have occurred in the battle for equity and justice. Notice the intricate dots in different shades, this represents the many people that have come together to advocate, educate, and support the black community.

This Black History Month, we welcome you to get to know and honour the individual identities and perspectives of some of our black partners. Join us in meeting a few of our EMEA retail partners who celebrate their journeys and share the importance of this month!


Henry Isibor

store manager at the O2 London

Tell us a bit about your role in the business and how long you’ve been a partner?

I am proud to have been a partner for 12 years, managing a leading some of our high-volume stores. It has been an honour and a privilege to work with many amazing partners from diverse backgrounds – which is one of the things I love most about my job.

Why is black history month important to you and what excites you the most about it?

A continued engagement with our heritage is important as it helps us understand the present. It’s exciting to appreciate and celebrate achievements and how far we have all come.

What does equality mean to you?

Equality to me is where everyone has the same opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents irrespective of who they are.


Semhar Eyasu

shift supervisor

Tell us a bit about your role in the business and how long you’ve been a partner?

I began my career with Starbucks as a barista and have been a partner for 5 years.

Why is black history month important to you and what excites you the most about it?

It’s important because at school we did not have the opportunity to learn about black history, and I believe that there is a big opportunity to educate all generations. We must speak about it to keep the history alive and there is still a lot more to learn on black history, heritage, and culture. Many things excite me about this month, but I am particularly interested in all the strong women, such as Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks, who were brave enough to fight against racial segregation. All those brave women played a part in making the world a better place for
everybody, regardless of their skin colour.

What does equality mean to you?

Equality to me is about having the opportunity to reach your true potential whatever race, age, or gender you are.


Temitope Bola-Okerinde

shift supervisor

Tell us a bit about your role in the business and how long you’ve been a partner?

I began my Starbucks journey in 2017. To me, being a shift supervisor is about more than a set of skills and qualifications, I believe attitude and willingness to learn are equally as important. I am aware that I can’t do everything alone; I trust my team and continue to motivate them to be the best they can be.

Why is black history month important to you and what excites you the most about it?

It’s important because black history, achievements, and struggles are rarely spoken about or celebrated and so young black people like me, were left unaware of what others that look like them can become or achieve. Black communities, culture, and identities are different and one month does not allow for many untold stories and perspectives. It does, however, encourage important conversations to begin on institutional racism, racial injustice, and black joy.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Enjoy all the little moments as growing up isn’t as fun as you think! Make mistakes, learn, and don’t repeat. Lastly, you’re original so why be a copy?


Rebecca Sotomi

store manager at Minories

Tell us a bit about your role in the business and how long you’ve been a partner?

I’ve been privileged to be a Starbucks partner for 11 years, beginning as a barista. Following graduation from university, I decided to grow and develop at Starbucks because I felt a great sense of belonging. For me, my Starbucks experience has been one that has really lived up to our mission statement and commitment to diversity. I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the partners that have crossed my path on this journey. We really are an incredible group of people!

Why is black history month important to you and what excites you the most about it?

It’s important because it’s an opportunity to celebrate true diversity. It’s also a brilliant way to showcase how far we have come as a society in ensuring freedom and equality for all. Whilst we are not yet a truly equal society, it is refreshing to see the great strides in the right direction.

What does equality mean to you?

Equality for me is about ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to rise and fall, succeed or fail based on their ability and the content of their character alone. Equality looks like a multi-racial workforce, government, and school system. A society where people of all backgrounds are fully represented in all spheres of life, as CEOs, company directors, middle management, and entrepreneurs across all sectors of the economy.