[Issue 055] CEOs fighting racism...?



You probably opened up this email expecting me to discuss the outrageous Starbucks situation from this past weekend (and another one shortly after). To be honest, I thought I was going to cover it in this week's newsletter too.

But as I sat down to write, I realized I just didn't have the emotional capacity to read, analyze and intelligently discuss racism with anyone this week.

So I won't.

An accurate reflection of how I felt while reading the headlines.

An accurate reflection of how I felt while reading the headlines.

Also, for my mental health, I try to avoid watching videos capturing anything related to racism (both violent and nonviolent). That means I have yet to watch the actual footage of the incident.

But, in a nutshell, here's what I know about how the company has handled the situation thus far:

  • Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson apologized on Saturday and outlined some immediate steps the company would take in response to what went down.
  • He has also done interviews and made it clear that the manager's behavior was unacceptable: “It was completely inappropriate to engage the police.”
  • As of Monday, the manager who called the police is no longer employed by the company.
  • Today Starbucks announced that on May 29th it will be closing 8,000 of its stores in the US so that 175,000 employees can participate in racial bias training.

While I don't have any analysis of my own to offer today, I'll leave you with a quote that resonated with me from the Fortune newsletter, CEO Daily:

This is just the latest example of how dramatically corporate leadership has changed in the social media era. The incident, while clearly objectionable, would likely have passed with little notice in earlier days. But today, every Starbucks customer has become a potential citizen-journalist, and every social media user feels empowered to react as if he or she had witnessed the event first-hand. It’s up to the CEO to provide the antidote.
— Alan Murray


Because Beyonce is the cure for all*, it feels appropriate to brighten the mood by sharing GIFs from #Beychella (aka Beyonce's dominance at Coachella this past weekend).


In case you missed it, she became the first Black woman to headline the music festival and she SLAYED. Okay!?

Don't believe me? A New York Times review reads, "There’s not likely to be a more meaningful, absorbing, forceful and radical performance by an American musician this year, or any year soon."

The best part: The performance highlighted Historically Black Colleges and Universities (one of which I'm a proud alumna!).

* There's absolutely no room for debate here.


2 Days, 10 Hours, 600 Questions: What Happened When Mark Zuckerberg Went to Washington. After watching some of this last week, I'm still stuck on how little our elected representatives understand about the internet. Also, I don't think I'd ever seen Zuckerberg in a suit before! If you missed any of last week's festivities, be sure to check out this recap of how things went. // NYTIMES

Tesla says its factory is safer—but it left injuries off the books. Experts say that Tesla is prioritizing manufacturing output over safety, a claim that does not come as a surprise to me in the context of the company's many cultural issues. // MIT REVIEW 

What the Rana Plaza Disaster Changed About Worker Safety. If you shop at H&M, Zara, or Abercrombie & Fitch, here's what you need to know about the safety of Bangladeshi garment workers five years after the Rana Plaza collapse. // RACKED

Hilton Hotels' newest upgrades are strictly for staff. From upgrading dreary break rooms to updating parental leave (for both salaried and hourly employees! YES!), the company is investing in the experience of it's workforce. In an industry in need of much change, I hope this creates a ripple effect. // QUARTZ

Apple Now Runs On 100% Green Energy, And Here’s How It Got There. Not only has the company hit an incredible milestone of powering its facilities with renewable energy, it has also gotten many of its suppliers to commit to clean energy goals. // FAST COMPANY

Nikita T. Mitchell