Building Bridges: Starbucks Coffee Company

Presenting the 2017 recipients of our annual American Courage Awards

On October 5, 2017, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC will be celebrating our annual American Courage Awards, an opportunity to recognize and celebrate individuals, groups, and corporations for their commitment and contributions to civil rights.

The Bridge Builder Award recognizes an individual or corporation that has developed an innovative approach to successful community engagement and strives to overcome obstacles for the Asian American community, as well as other minority communities.

Starbucks Coffee Company is this year’s Bridge Builder Award recipient for its outstanding commitment to representing diversity in the workplace. Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting high-quality arabica coffee. Today, with stores around the globe, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. But they’re much more than that. The coffee powerhouse creates meaningful opportunities that can strengthen individuals and communities.

Starbucks understands the need to strengthen our democracy through its initiative “TurboVote Challenge” that has a goal of increasing the voter engagement to 80 percent by the year 2020. Perhaps no one says it better than Chairman and CEO, Howard Schulz, who said, “Our intention is nonpartisan, and it is simple: by helping to increase voter registration and participation, we believe more people will have an opportunity to make their voices count.” This ideal is not only a cornerstone of democracy, but it is a pillar of the work we do at Advancing Justice | AAJC to protect our voting rights.

Starbucks is committed to supporting the young men and women who are part of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. Today, more than 43% of Starbucks partners in the U.S. are minorities and as such, the company has stepped up in a major way to champion the need for a bipartisan solution for the “Dreamers” who deserve the opportunity to become U.S. citizens. Starbucks commitment expands beyond supporting undocumented immigrants to its support of refugees living in America.

Millions of refugees come to the U.S. to seek a chance to rebuild their lives and start fresh after fleeing harsh and extraordinarily difficult circumstances. In spite of some initial vocal opposition, Starbucks is leading a global effort over the next five years to welcome and employ 10,000 refugees — proving that it is a corporation with compassion.

Throughout the year, Starbucks has developed programs which dedicate their time and energy to create positive change in local neighborhoods. They encourage partners to lead and participate in projects that align with key areas of focus, including the support of refugees, opportunity for youth, and transitioning veterans, environmental impact, and alleviating hunger.

Join us October 5, 2017 to recognize Starbucks and our other honorees, celebrate our victories, and strengthen our resolve for the fights ahead. If you can’t attend, you can still support our work.