Starbucks ceo: A response to the disruption to American democracy

In an internal virtual open forum today with over 2,000 Starbucks partners (employees), Starbucks ceo Kevin Johnson shared the following message after which emotional stories and perspectives were shared by partners around the country….

Let me begin by sharing with you what I’m feeling…

I am saddened and dismayed by the disruption to American democracy in our nation’s capital.

The divisiveness in our country is becoming more extreme – people are acting out in more destructive and violent ways – and it seems to have created a negative spiral in our society.

Democracy was created knowing that people have different views. It is important to have a system that gives every citizen a voice and, hopefully, a constructive way to listen to diverse perspectives and govern a nation that unites people around common cause.

That didn’t happen yesterday.

As a company, we condemn all acts of violence and expressions of hate. This is not a discussion about partisan differences, it’s not about red or blue, but rather a moment to reflect on what it means to come together as Starbucks partners, as we have done in the past, and make a positive contribution at a time when humanity needs some hope, optimism, and civility – humanity needs some inspiration and nurturing.

So I ask myself, what can I do to make a positive difference? What can Starbucks do to make a positive difference?

Society is in a fragile state. Humanity is in a fragile state. And as someone who believes in the goodness of people, and as a Starbucks partner who believes that we, together, have something special to offer, I believe this is one of those important opportunities for us to show up in a positive way – not just as Starbucks partners but as individuals in this shared society – to live Our Mission, to listen to one another, to help unite our communities and our country.

This isn’t partisan. This is about the human spirit.

It’s more important than ever to inspire and nurture the human spirit and uplift one another – to care for one another.

And when I look at it through that lens, I can acknowledge the reality of the situation – acknowledge my feeling of sadness – AND at the same time bring an attitude of hope and optimism that we can play an important role in creating an upward spiral – one that is based on the values we stand for and the mission that connects us all.

Caring for one another as partners is where it begins…