Two black men Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, who were arrested at Starbucks in Philadelphia for sitting without ordering anything, have concluded on a settlement with the city.
Report from the Associated Press says, the men have decided that instead of heading to court for being discriminated against, they only want $1 each. In addition to the sum total $2 payout, the city of Philadelphia will launch a $200,000 grant that will go toward a pilot program for high school students who aspire to be entrepreneurs.
Starbucks has also offered to pay for college tuition for Nelson and Robinson.
“We thought long and hard about it and we feel like this is the best way to see that change that we want to see,” Robinson told the AP. “It’s not a right-now thing that’s good for right now, but I feel like we will see the true change over time.”The arrest of Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson on April 12 led to outrage in the U.S. over racial profiling. The innocent young men were arrested and led away in handcuffs after the manager called the police, saying the men refused to buy anything or leave. After spending hours in jail, they were released and no charges were filed.
Nelson and Robinson explained that they were waiting at Starbucks for a business meeting about a potential real estate deal.
As a result of the massive outrage created by the men’s arrest, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson visited Philadelphia to personally apologize. He also announced Starbucks stores would close May 29 so all Starbuck employees will participate in a racial-bias training-education course.
Kevin Johnson said in an April 17 statement: “I’ve spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it. While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution. Closing our stores for racial-bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.”
In a statement posted to the company’s website, Starbucks said Nelson and Robinson had had “constructive conversations” with CEO Kevin Johnson that resulted in a financial settlement and “continued listening and dialogue between the parties and specific action and opportunity.”
“I want to thank Donte and Rashon for their willingness to reconcile,” Starbucks CEO, Johnson said in a statement. “I welcome the opportunity to begin a relationship with them to share learnings and experiences. And Starbucks will continue to take actions that stem from this incident to repair and reaffirm our values and vision for the kind of company we want to be.”
As part of their agreement with the coffee chain, Robinson and Nelson will work with former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder as part of Starbucks’ diversity and equity efforts.
“We all recognize the importance of communication about differences and solutions, and that we will be measured by our action not words,” they said in a joint statement.
City spokesman Mike Dunn said that the agreement between Nelson and Robinson and Philadelphia means the city and its employees have been released from “any and all claims”.
“This was an incident that evoked a lot of pain in our city, pain that would’ve resurfaced over and over again in protracted litigation, which presents significant legal risks and high financial and emotional costs for everyone involved,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement, according to The Washington Post.