Like so many of you, I find myself utterly disappointed by the level of irresponsibility and dysfunction we are witness to with our elected political leadership. This weekend I heard from several business leaders who shared their concern about our relative silence and impact in urging the political leadership to act on behalf of the citizenry. I hope you share my view that it is our responsibility to address the crisis of confidence that is needlessly being set in motion. I’d like to encourage you to consider what your companies and organizations can do to help shift the norms of our country back toward civility, compromise and problem-solving.
At Starbucks, we are planning actions in the coming weeks to galvanize our customers, inspire our people and encourage the communities we serve to come together to take care of each other. In uncertain moments such as these, it is time for us as citizens and business leaders to remind our employees and customers that we stand with them. Perhaps through these actions, we can remind the Congress and the President of their duty to put citizenship over partisanship for the sake of our country and the world at large.
Please join me in pleading for civility and a respectful, honest discourse among politicians to bring a solution to the current stalemate. I don't pretend that both parties are equally to blame for this crisis. But, I do think they are equally responsible for leading us to a solution. We have to do what we can to mitigate and avoid the unintended consequences that the current political direction is leading the country and world toward. Let’s start by pushing for solutions and speaking out against posturing and blaming. The humanity and conscience of our country depends on it.
I am eager to hear your thoughts and ideas on what else we can do together to move us past this crisis in leadership.
Dear Fellow Americans,
Few topics in America generate a more polarized and emotional debate than guns. In recent months, Starbucks stores and our partners (employees) who work in our stores have been thrust unwillingly into the middle of this debate. That’s why I am writing today with a respectful request that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas.
From the beginning, our vision at Starbucks has been to create a “third place” between home and work where people can come together to enjoy the peace and pleasure of coffee and community. Our values have always centered on building community rather than dividing people, and our stores exist to give every customer a safe and comfortable respite from the concerns of daily life.
We appreciate that there is a highly sensitive balance of rights and responsibilities surrounding America’s gun laws, and we recognize the deep passion for and against the “open carry” laws adopted by many states. (In the United States, “open carry” is the term used for openly carrying a firearm in public.) For years we have listened carefully to input from our customers, partners, community leaders and voices on both sides of this complicated, highly charged issue.
Our company’s longstanding approach to “open carry” has been to follow local laws: we permit it in states where allowed and we prohibit it in states where these laws don’t exist. We have chosen this approach because we believe our store partners should not be put in the uncomfortable position of requiring customers to disarm or leave our stores. We believe that gun policy should be addressed by government and law enforcement—not by Starbucks and our store partners.
Recently, however, we’ve seen the “open carry” debate become increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening. Pro-gun activists have used our stores as a political stage for media events misleadingly called “Starbucks Appreciation Days” that disingenuously portray Starbucks as a champion of “open carry.” To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores. Some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners.
For these reasons, today we are respectfully requesting that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas—even in states where “open carry” is permitted—unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel.
I would like to clarify two points. First, this is a request and not an outright ban. Why? Because we want to give responsible gun owners the chance to respect our request—and also because enforcing a ban would potentially require our partners to confront armed customers, and that is not a role I am comfortable asking Starbucks partners to take on. Second, we know we cannot satisfy everyone. For those who oppose “open carry,” we believe the legislative and policy-making process is the proper arena for this debate, not our stores. For those who champion “open carry,” please respect that Starbucks stores are places where everyone should feel relaxed and comfortable. The presence of a weapon in our stores is unsettling and upsetting for many of our customers.
I am proud of our country and our heritage of civil discourse and debate. It is in this spirit that we make today’s request. Whatever your view, I encourage you to be responsible and respectful of each other as citizens and neighbors.
As signed by Starbucks partner, Ryan Schlecht
Recent allegations have surfaced in the media regarding the treatment of some Deaf customers in two of our New York City stores. On behalf of the over 200,000 partners (employees), we want to take the opportunity to be clear that discrimination of any kind is not tolerated at Starbucks. We take these allegations very seriously, and believe they are neither consistent with our values nor our track record of engaging the Deaf community both as partners and as customers.
We want Starbucks to be a place where Deaf people want to work and visit. We strive to provide a Starbucks Experience that is culturally sensitive and inclusive of Deaf etiquette. We are proud of our continued growth in recruiting and employing members of the Deaf community at our headquarters in Seattle, as well as in our stores in the U.S. and across the globe. We are also grateful for the positive feedback we continue to receive from the Deaf community on our accessibility in stores, as well as the opportunity to support American Sign Language interpreted store events.
At Starbucks, inclusion and cultural sensitivity are core to our leadership training and foundational to the Starbucks Experience. We promote equality, inclusion and accessibility, including offering a number of ways we directly support our Deaf partners and customers.
- We provide training, including American Sign Language as well as a “Creating a Deaf Friendly Environment” course, to help engage our partners in delivering an accessible environment for all.
- We also provide communications equipment and resources to our Deaf partners for interpreting services such as video relay interpreting services, real time captioning, flashing strobe light signalers for emergency evacuation notice, and video captioning.
- Our Starbucks Access Alliance also helps promote equal opportunity and accessibility for partners and customers.
Starbucks is a business with humanity at its soul and communities in which we have the opportunity to serve are the heart of our business.
More information on inclusion and accessibility from Cliff Burrows, Starbucks group president, Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and Teavana, can be found on our website here. We also welcome you to view a few of our Deaf partners’ stories as told here, here, and here.
There are moments in our lives when we have an opportunity to ignite tremendous positive change—not just in the lives of the customers and communities we serve every day, but in our country. This was evident in the outpouring of support in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary that claimed 26 innocent lives, including one of our partners (employees), Lauren Rousseau.
This spirit of connectedness and humanity is powerful; so powerful that if we unleash it, we can make a difference on a much grander scale.
In the spirit of the Holiday season and the Starbucks tradition of bringing people together, we have a unique opportunity to unite and take action on an incredibly important topic. As many of you know, our elected officials in Washington D.C. have been unable to come together and compromise to solve the tremendously important, time-sensitive issue to fix the national debt. You can learn more about this impending crisis at www.fixthedebt.org.
Rather than be bystanders, we have an opportunity—and I believe a responsibility—to use our company’s scale for good by sending a respectful and optimistic message to our elected officials to come together and reach common ground on this important issue. This week through December 28, partners in our Washington D.C. area stores are writing “Come Together” on customers’ cups.
It’s a small gesture, but the power of small gestures is what Starbucks is about! Imagine the power of our partners and hundreds of thousands of customers each sharing such a simple message, one cup at a time.
Never before have we asked our partners to write something specific on our customers’ cups. These words express the optimism that’s core to the holiday season, to our country’s heritage, and to our Starbucks Mission. This effort is also being amplified by our friends at AOL and Patch who are joining us in activating their hyper-local network of websites to share the “Come Together” message at patch.com/fixthedebt.
My hope is that this simple message will serve as a holiday reminder from Starbucks of the spirit that has always bridged differences and that we all have the power to come together and make a difference during every season of the year.
I wish you the warmest holiday wishes and a very happy New Year.
The effects of climate change are far-reaching, and farmers around the world are especially sensitive to the impact. Traditional farming strategies may not yield the same results, and farmers now contend with an increasing number of variables that can affect coffee production.
As a kid, I always tried to sneak in extra ingredients while baking: chocolate chips in the cookies and blueberries in the blueberry muffins. I figured if it was a yummy ingredient the more the better, which makes our new Bountiful Blueberry Muffin a deliciously tasty idea.
Of course my technique did have some pitfalls, namely unstirrable batters and exploding muffins in the oven. Thankfully our master muffin baker was better prepared to take on the challenge of packing our muffin full of blueberries.
I have a program on Sirius XM radio called “American Voices” in which I interview people about their lives. Each show, I talk to someone who has an unusual job – a boat captain at the mouth of the Columbia River, a groundskeeper at Fenway Park, a public health nurse in the Aleutian Islands, or a man who washes the windows of New York City skyscrapers. Each conversation is about the dignity and nobility of work. When you work at something you love, whatever it is, your chances for self-fulfillment and prosperity dramatically increase.
Today there are 22 million Americans who want to work but can’t find a job. And 46 million people live in poverty. That’s the highest number in history – higher even than during the Great Depression. Real median per capita income in the United States in 2010 was the same as it was in 1996, which means that the middle class is stuck and losing ground.
On Independence Day, our country celebrates the promise of America.
It’s a day to remember that the principles that bind us together vastly outweigh what keeps us apart. The freedom to dream and the opportunity to create a better life – not just for ourselves, but for each other – has always defined our great nation.
I am a product of that American Dream. As a kid who grew up in public housing, went on to get an education at a state university and build a business, I am grateful for what this country has made possible for me. In turn, at Starbucks, we have always tried our best to honor our responsibility to the communities we serve.
And on this Fourth of July, our communities need all of us.
Across the country, millions of Americans are out of work. Many more are working tirelessly yet still unable to adequately care for their families. Our veterans are not being welcomed home with the level of support they deserve. Meanwhile, in our nation’s capital, our elected leaders are continuing to put ideology over real solutions. I love America, but we all know there is something wrong. The deficits this country must reconcile are much more than financial, and our inability to solve our own problems is sapping our national spirit. We are better than this. America’s history has showed that we have accomplished extraordinary things when we act collectively, with courage, creativity, and generosity of spirit—especially during trying times.
As we celebrate all that is great about our country, let’s come together and amplify our voices.
Let’s tell our government leaders to put partisanship aside and to speak truthfully about the challenges we face. Let’s ask our business leaders to create more job opportunities for the American economy. And as citizens, let’s all get more involved. Please, don’t be a bystander. Understand that we have a shared responsibility in solving our nation’s problems. We can’t wait for Washington.
At Starbucks, we are trying to live up to our responsibility by increasing our local community service and helping to finance small-business job creation with Create Jobs for USA. Our company is far from perfect, and we know we can do more for America. But we need your help. We need your voice.
Join the national conversation with #INDIVISIBLE. Starting today, I invite you to share your view of America, and how we can all put citizenship over partisanship. On Instagram, post a photo of the America we all need to see. On Twitter, provide a link to an innovative idea. Blog about who’s making a difference in your community; or on YouTube, share how you made your American Dream come true. No matter where you post, if you use the tag #indivisible, Starbucks will do its part to collect and amplify your voices.
To spark the conversation in our stores, your local Starbucks will proudly serve everyone a free tall hot brewed coffee on the Fourth of July.
Together, we can set a new tone in America. We hope you agree that doing so is a powerful way to celebrate our nation’s birthday.
In 2012, America needs to win the election more than either party does. It is time now to join together as Americans. It is time, whatever our differences, for us to strive and succeed as one nation – indivisible.
Whether your girlfriends are secret want-to-be princesses (me!) or more casual girls who love to hang out, throwing a tea party is a super fun way to enjoy some time together.
At first, the idea of throwing a tea party overwhelmed me because I don’t own a fabulous hat, but soon I realized that all I really need for the perfect tea party is a tasty menu, flavorful tea and great girlfriends.
This easy-to-prepare menu features some of our tastiest baked goods, which are super-easy to pick up at your local Starbucks when you grab your tea. To round out the menu, grab some fresh fruit at your local farmer’s market.
Tea Party Menu
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