The most visible part of Starbucks' campaign to get customers talking about race — putting the slogan "Race Together" on coffee cups — has come to an end.
In a memo sent to all Starbucks employees Sunday, CEO Howard Schultz wrote: "This phase of the effort — writing 'Race Together' (or placing stickers) on cups, which was always just the catalyst for a much broader and longer term conversation — will be completed as originally planned today, March 22."
The company received widespread criticism of its Race Together Initiative, which was announced last week. But Starbucks spokeswoman Laurel Harper told NPR that the move occurred right on schedule and was unrelated to the fallout. "This is not a change at all," Harper said. "We are not straying from what we set out to do, in fact, we are doing more."
The company says a number of Race Together activities will still take place over the next few months, including open forums and special sections in USA Today. Starbucks is also committing to hire 10,000 disadvantaged youth over the next three years and open new stores in communities with large minority populations.