Less than a day after an internal memo stating employees were not permitted to wear Black Lives Matter attire to work went viral, Starbucks announced that not only is that no longer the case, but that they've also designed BLM merch for their partners to wear. The chain saw immediate backlash to yesterday's news, and #BoycottStarbucks trended on Twitter in the United States.
"Black Lives Matter." a post from the coffee giant began. The brand went on to write: "We continue to listen to our partners and communities and their desire to stand for justice together. In response to this historic time, our store partners can show support with their own t-shirts, pins and name tags."
Black Lives Matter. We continue to listen to our partners and communities and their desire to stand for justice together. In response to this historic time, our store partners can show support with their own t-shirts, pins and name tags. To learn more, visit the link in our bio. The Starbucks Black Partner Network has also co-designed t-shirts with this graphic that will soon be sent to 250,000+ store partners.
A post shared by Starbucks Coffee ☕ (@starbucks) on Jun 12, 2020 at 6:51am PDT
Language on a post from the Starbucks Partners account differed slightly, noting that "until these [shirts] arrive, we've heard you want to show your support, so just be you...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."
Partners, we hear you and support standing up for justice while proudly wearing the green apron. Black Lives Matter. That is a fact and will never change. Together with our Black Partner Network, we've designed a Starbucks t-shirt for every U.S. and Canada partner to express our solidarity during this historic time. 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. We stand united. 💚
A post shared by Starbucks Partners (@starbuckspartners) on Jun 12, 2020 at 6:22am PDT
An official statement from Starbucks provided to Delish specifies 250,000 of the above-pictured shirts will be made available to employees in the U.S. and Canada. The statement continued, "This small effort allows us to abide by store policies that are designed to maintain a safe and welcoming sense of community." This likely alludes to the Starbucks dress code, which, as of yesterday, did not allow partners "to wear buttons or pins that advocate a political, religious, or personal issue," a point of contention for many amid the news as the chain typically provides attire for Pride Month each year.
Starbucks management also penned a letter to employees in response to the blowback, which you can read in full here.
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