Yesterday I received a FB message from a friend of mine who was at Starbucks during what is normally a packed morning rush.
‘I’m sitting at one of the busiest Starbucks in Atlanta at the intersection of Mansell Rd and Alpharetta Highway in Roswell. It is EMPTY. It is usually overflowing with people. I asked the barista what is going on and she told me the Starbucks boycott campaign due to agreeing 10K refugees is severely impacting business.’
I looked online and read about other Starbucks that were far emptier than usual.
Where do I go with this?
To the truth.
In an open letter to the company’s employees, CEO Howard Schultz wrote, ‘we are developing plans to hire 10,000 of them over five years in the 75 countries around the world where Starbucks does business.’
It’s true. Starbucks is going to hire refugees in the U.S. and 74 other countries around the world. The announcement ignited a firestorm, and #BoycottStarbucks began trending, with people accusing Starbucks of hiring refugees instead of American veterans.
Except that’s not true. Starbucks announced a few years ago it would hire 10,000 veterans by 2018. As of this week, Starbucks says it has hired ‘8,800 veterans and military spouses.’
Starbucks is also opening stores in low income areas, including Ferguson, Missouri, and says it has already met its goal of hiring 10,000 16 to 24 year olds who are unemployed and not in school.
So, to recap — refugees and veterans and spouses of veterans and low income and unemployed young adults.
You can disagree with the company’s plan to hire refugees.
You cannot claim it’s instead of everyone else.
Truth means transparency, so I will also point out that Howard Schultz supported Hillary Clinton. He is not happy with the executive order. ‘We are living in an unprecedented time, one in which we are witness to the conscience of our country, and the promise of the American Dream, being called into question.’
I’m not advocating to #DrinkStarbucks. Drink whatever coffee you please, even the rot gut that sits out all night at roadside gas stations, if it makes you happy.
I’m saying beware of selective truth. Guess what sentence immediately followed the announcement of refugee hirings? ‘And we will start this effort here in the U.S. by making the initial focus of our hiring efforts on those individuals who have served with U.S. troops as interpreters and support personnel in the various countries where our military has asked for such support.’
Keep reading, my brothers and sisters. Keep reading beyond the headline. Beyond the tweet. Beyond the hashtag.
If you want to find me, I’ll be at my neighborhood Starbucks enjoying a tall flat white.