Starbucks reverses ban on staff wearing Black Lives Matter clothing

The coffee chain suffered backlash after asking staff not to wear BLM clothing, but hope these measures assure it stands with the BAME community

1y ago

Starbucks faced a barrage of abuse recently after asking its staff to stop wearing clothing with Black Lives Matter slogans, for fear it could be 'misunderstood and potentially incite violence'.

The Black Lives Matter movement has been in the spotlight recently, following the murder of George Floyd by police in America. The movement aims to educate us all about the discrimination faced by black people and other members of the BAME community, while actively taking measures to change people's attitude and behaviour for the better.

Many food and drinks companies have thrown weight behind this movement, keen to publicly state they support their BAME staff and stand alongside them in the fight for change. So this rejection of BLM slogans from Starbucks came as something of a shock.

In a statement sent to all staff in the company, it has now reversed this decision, encouraging people to wear pins, t-shirts, and any other items staff feel allow them to best express their support for the community. This is in lieu of the company making its own BLM pins and t-shirts which are to be circulated to all staff as soon as they are available.

The statement from Roz Brewer, Rossann Williams, and Zing Shaw, reads:

"Dear partners,

"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."

In relation to the design for the t-shirts and pins that has been made by the partners, for the partners, the statement continued:

"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."

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Comments (4)

  • Super glad that they've done this

      1 year ago
    • I am too

        1 year ago
    • It was a really poor decision of them to not allow it originally. I understand that they might have been very worried about losing sales/customers due to allowing people to wear something that can be seen as very overtly political, but in the...

      Read more
        1 year ago