After the long Memorial Day weekend, both positive and negative changes have happened around the District.
A large national chain took admirable steps to improve their handling of bias, which will hopefully set a precedent for other companies. But it’s hard to be completely optimistic when right in our backyard there was an uptick in shootings over the weekend.
Here’s the best and worst news from around campus and the District this week.
This week, more than 8,000 Starbucks locations – including two locations on campus – closed early to implement racial bias training and discuss discrimination.
The training comes after an incident that would be a thumbs down. In April, two black men were arrested at a Starbucks in Philadelphia. The men asked an employee for the code to the restroom before they had purchased anything from the store, so the employee refused to give out the code and asked the two men to leave. When they did not, the men were arrested and the incident was recorded and later went viral.
After the unfortunate situation, Starbucks is moving in the right direction. The company faced backlash, and would likely have faced more if they hadn’t initiated some form of diversity training, but the afternoon off will benefit customers as well as employees. Because there are Starbucks locations all over the U.S. and around the world, it is beneficial that employees undergo a uniform training in which they discuss biases and how to avoid incidents like this in the future.
D.C. and the Foggy Bottom area are composed of people from all different backgrounds. For the two locations on campus that closed – in Gelman Library and on E Street – this training will help employees be more aware of how they interact with people from different backgrounds, hopefully, preventing a situation like this from happening in our own community.
The effect of the negative situation didn’t stop at the training. It began what is hopefully a chain reaction of improvements in the company. A new company policy was also added earlier this month, which no longer requires individuals to purchase items from a Starbucks store in order to use its restroom.
While I don’t often go to Starbucks for my daily caffeine fix, it is hopeful to see such a large company undergo training and other changes to better serve its millions of customers from all backgrounds.
Over Memorial Day weekend, D.C. experienced an increase in gun violence. Ten shootings occurred in the District over the three-day weekend, leaving four dead and more than three injured.
After the deadly holiday weekend and as of Tuesday, the District counts 63 homicides – a jump of 50 percent from last year at this time. Since the start of the year, Ward 8 has tallied 30 homicides alone.
These recent incidents leave many D.C. families worried about their safety and it’s especially sad that this happened over a holiday weekend of remembrance.
D.C. leaders are trying to fight the rise of homicides and events of random violence throughout the wards, which is a good step. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced this week that she will be increasing police support in and around Ward 8 through extra patrols, helicopter surveillance, and drug and gun squads.
But, as summer starts and the signature D.C. heat boosts the temperature, crime often rises with it, and that trend will likely continue this year.
Renee Pineda, a senior majoring in political science, is the Hatchet’s opinions editor.
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