Letter to Starbucks partners: Continuing to support racial justice with action

An open letter to Starbucks partners from Kevin Johnson, Starbucks chief executive officer and president, and Roz Brewer, Starbucks chief operating officer and group president


The last three weeks have provided a powerful opportunity to listen, learn and reflect upon how Starbucks is living up to its mission to nurture the human spirit, one person, one cup, one neighborhood at a time.

That reflection starts with how we failed to create a warm and welcoming environment in one of our Philadelphia stores two years ago. The incident revealed we had real work to do, and we’ve been on a journey ever since. Now, the recent events triggered by the murder of George Floyd once again call for us to pause and examine our progress towards racial justice, equity and inclusivity. And the truth is, while we’ve made headway in many areas, there is much more to do. In fact, the potency – and potential – of this moment in our nation’s history demands we do more.

To build on our existing foundation and identify meaningful, measurable steps to take moving forward, Starbucks leadership is spending more time listening to and learning from thousands of partners and our Partner Networks, particularly our Black Partner Network (BPN). You saw the result of this recently concerning dress code and our decision to make sure partners feel seen, heard and valued. It’s also through conversations with BPN and allies, we decided Starbucks will stand in solidarity with our black partners to celebrate freedom and condemn oppression by recognizing Juneteenth as an annual U.S. company holiday. As shared earlier today, just as we honor Martin Luther King Jr. each year, Starbucks will pause and reflect upon the ending of slavery in the U.S. on June 19th, the progress we’ve made, and the work ahead for us as a company and individuals. Our stores, distribution centers and plants will remain open and hourly, non-exempt partners who work will receive pay 1.5 times their regular rate. Salaried partners required to work will receive a holiday in lieu, and support partners will receive the day off with regular pay.

Of course, our work doesn’t stop here. Using our Civil Rights Assessment as a blueprint for progress, we’ll continue to listen and learn and do our part to help America live up to its ideals by creating tangible and lasting change within our culture and workforce, the communities we serve, and as citizens.

Being a different kind of company has always required us to act with courage and tenacity, even more so now. We won’t always get it right, but our intentions are real, and we’ll continue to listen to our partners, take action and learn and grow from our mistakes. Please continue to share your thoughts on Workplace, the Partner Hub, and through our Partner Network leaders.

With respect and gratitude,
Kevin and Roz