The City of Evanston will host three public equity forums today to focus attention locally on the issues raised by the April 12 racial bias incident in a Philadelphia Starbucks.

The forums will coincide with today’s closing of all 8,000 Starbucks stores for the afternoon to provide cultural sensitivity training for the company’s 175,000 employees.

“What Happened at Starbucks?” forums will be offered at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. at the Morton Civic Center, Parasol Room, 2100 Ridge Ave., Evanston.

At each 90-minute forum, participants will view footage taken from the April 12 incident when two black men were arrested for sitting at a Starbucks without purchasing anything.

Participants then will be encouraged to discuss ways in which community members can stay engaged around difficult issues.

The forums will be led by Dr. Patricia A. Efiom, the City’s equity and empowerment coordinator.

Join the Conversation


  1. What does this have to do with city government?
    I applaud Starbucks for addressing issues related to their customer service.

    But, why in the world is the city of Evanston hosting a forum on this issue?

    It has nothing to do with municipal government and is a clear waste of resources.

    When The city is preparing for budget cuts they are spending staff time on this?

    I did not see the equity coordinator on the survey for budget cuts, but if she needs to host forums that have nothing to do with the core duties of local government, it seems like this is a natural area for cuts.

    1. I Agree
      If Dr. Patricia A. Efiom has nothing to do, this is not winning any points. We don’t need an activist working for our city government. We need a problem solver.

      She was another bad idea by Wally and the Council. Trade her in for the right model.

  2. The pitchfork mob is in a frenzy
    It’s silly season again and the pitchfork mob is in a frenzy.

    Isn’t it interesting that Evanston’s newly created six figure equity and empowerment coordinator is holding racial bias forums the same day Starbucks is closing its store to train its employees on racial bias. How about bias against police? Will that be a topic during the Starbucks training as well as Efrom’s forums?

    Where was the outrage after a Starbucks in Philadelphia in 2015 refused to allow a police officer to use the restroom? The officer asked to use the restroom and an employee, “State[d] in a loud voice … that the bathroom is for paying customers only.” The officer wrote about it on Facebook and it went viral.

    Yet he didn’t get a visit from Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson and the media didn’t make this a national incident with ungodly amounts of reporting. No one is leading an angry mob into that Starbucks to scream at a poor innocent worker. And no equity coordinator held forums in Evanston.

    Starbucks had a corporate policy to not allow people to loiter. The employee who called the police on the two black men who did not make a purchase said she had problems with other loiterers in the past, even one who chased her around the store. She told the men that the store has a no loiter policy and that they either had to buy something or leave. They refused to buy anything or leave. So she called the police. The police asked the men to kindly leave. They refused and were arrested.

    There is no proof the employee targeted these men because of race. If she had there would be other examples. It was about a corporate loitering policy that an employee was enforcing.

    This is a media driven event, providing cover for race hucksters and attorneys suing big corporations. I wonder what Starbucks would do if someone walked in with a full steaming hot cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee and sat around drinking it without buying anything?

    Maybe we’ll attend the equity forums and ask about bias against the police and why there seems to be a lot of people refusing to cooperate with police on the most simplest matters.

    Oh, and blue lives matter. That’s why we will never visit a Starbucks again or buy any of their products.

    1. To Anonymous
      How I agree with you! It is typical of some who pretend to care for minorities. It is happening all over the country today and it has been the propeller of the Regressive party for a long time. Show that you care. Participate in movements that push for “equity” whatever that is. It used to be “self esteem.”
      Then there was “Affirmative Action.” Then Spanish courses for Hispanics because….why? Because in the core of their twisted hearts they think Hispanics cannot learn English like all the other immigrants and should be kept down, anyway. Just check the achievement gap in schools as wide as ever while “those who care” go around creating new “expert positions” to deal with the problem. And calling for “city-wide meetings” to discuss this horrible situation. It is sickening.

    2. Right on Al!

      Starbucks lost a customer. After this MEDIA & EQUITY holier than thou frenzy, they have lost my business. The Starbucks executives aren’t the ones cleaning up after the homeless have loitered and left the bathrooms a mess. I feel for the employees that work in the big cities with a homeless issue. Clearly they won’t have the loitering/drug use issues at Plaza Del Lago. Again the hypocrisy from the LEFT….this was never about race…it was about a corporate store policy that was blown up by the MEDIA. HOW is it ok to BAN the COPS from using the bathrooms, but lord forbid we ask two black men to leave the store…..a store where the policy was in order to stay, you need to be a paying customer. Thank you AL for taking time to enlighten the liberal craziness here in Evanston.

  3. Dot on the Map
    Poll the folks that are in Love with Evanston and want to keep it that way and express their adverse concerns of anyone that threatens their way of life in Evanston and the government that is in debt to the people that CAN and WILL keep the deficit growing. The CFO of Starbucks wanted to create an atmosphere in Europe where customs and neighborhoods were ok with the service and way of life. Much to his chagrin is “one size does not fit all” so to speak. If those that are not of the mind to understand the Aquarian Age and should have a choice to a certain amount of privacy (if affordable) to rebuke transparency and live a lush life of luxury and pay to play, eat, drink and be merry or just complain about rules, regulations, laws, ordinances that are voted for or against that suits THEIR will to live.

  4. Starbucks

    While I can’t say that I attended, a neighbor and good friend did. From my understanding, Dr. Efiom led a lively and varied discussion on whether racism occurred, if so, when it occurred, and we all – residents of all different color, ethnicity, gender and sexual identity – recognize and mitigate our own internal biases. My neighbor thought it was very fair, objective and reasoned, and that the City used a national news story to talk about thoughts and actions that continue to affect our own community. I’d be down with commentary and even criticism from others who were there, but maybe everyone else should either care enough to show up, or care little enough to shut up.

    1. The criticism is that this not city government’s job

      Whether the discussion was lively or not is beside the point.

      I have a street full of potholes, sidewalk, street maintenance and alley repair that is going to be cut, and we are spending money on a staff person to lead a discussion and show videos about some event that happened in another state relating to customer service problems at a multinational corporation.

      It’s idiotic and emblematic of the poor state of management of the city.

      Efiom’s background is in church administration with no experience working in local government. And it shows. This type of discussion is better sponsored by a church than the government.

      The main person responsible for this waste is Wally (the guy who the city bailed out for $500k after he was accused of employment discrimination).

    2. Um, the word hypocrite comes to mind
      So Jack Black, you didn’t attend Evanston’s equity forum today but you happily accept as hearsay that it was “lively…very fair, objective and reasoned.”

      Yet, for those who didn’t show up you opine they should just “shut up.”

      Hey Jack Black. Pot. Kettle. Black!!!

      And for record, no, I will not shut up. The whole episode at Starbucks was about a corporate loitering policy. And it just so happened that two black men decided to loiter at Starbucks and refused to leave when they were kindly asked. Someone got it on tape, and voila the pitchfork mob went on a rampage with the help of the media. More fake news.

      1. So disingenuous
        I love how you recast that Starbucks incident as mere corporate policy regarding loitering. You need to do some mental contortions to come to that conclusion for the Philadelphia incident. Anti-loitering policies are one thing, but enforcement of that policy is the issue. In terms of civil liberties, enforcement of that policy could be disproportionately applied to people of color as well as people of lower economic means, which seems to have been the case in Philadelphia. You can’t tell me with a straight face that if it was two white men, same age and appearance as the black men (but for skin color), who hung out at that Starbucks without buying anything that they would’ve been asked to leave.

        Also, let’s not conflate what the City pays its equity coordinator with the discrimination issue being addressed here. You can (sort of) complain about what the City is paying her, but the City’s function isn’t solely to maintain the City’s infrastructure, it also has a duty to maintain the culture of the City’s inhabitants, and as far as I know this City wants to be inclusionary. And if that’s the goal, facilitating a gathering of the community to discuss social issues so that residents may develop a broader perspective seems well within the penumbra of that goal.

        Sometimes City issues are straightforward and you can see a direct correlation between cost and benefit. The folks here who’ve been complaining about this, I suggest, should step back and try to see it from a more multivalent perspective. I view this forum as similar to community policing where the police hold meetings to meet the people in their district and vice versa. The more sense of community there is, I believe results in less probability of violence.

        Do we want to be in a state of war or state of nature? I think John Locke had it right.

  5. All this in response to a
    All this in response to a shakedown setup. Nobody ever bothered to investigate the “real estate investment” that the victims claimed to be there to discuss. Quite the coincidence that the business “associate” just happens to roll up when the arrest was going down and the filming begins as he launches his protest as if the director had just yelled “action!”. Curiously, no store video for this race hustle.

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