• Sephora to close all stores June 5 for diversity training following SZA's racial-profiling claim

    By: Najja Parker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Updated:

    Sephora announced it would shut its doors Wednesday for diversity training.

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    On Monday, the makeup chain revealed every location, distribution center and corporate office will close the morning of Wednesday, June 5 to host inclusion workshops for its employees.

    During the one-hour session with its 16,000 workers, the corporation will discuss what it means to belong, across many different lenses that include, but are not limited to, gender identity, race and ethnicity, age, abilities, and more,” the company said in a e-mailed statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

    The training has been in development for over six months, Sephora noted. 

    “This store closure is part of a long journey in our aspiration to create a more inclusive beauty community and workplace, which has included forming employee resource groups, building Social Impact and philanthropic programs, and hosting inclusive mindset training for all supervisors,” the brand wrote.

    >> Related: ‘Existing while black’ shows darker side of racial profiling

    Sephora also launched its new “We Belong to Something Beautiful” campaign, which has been in the works for over a year. The initiative strives to promote inclusion among its staff and toward its customers. 

    The news comes nearly a month after SZA tweeted about an experience at a Sephora in Calabasas, California. She said a security officer was called because a staff member thought she was stealing.

    “Lmao Sandy Sephora location 614 Calabasas called security to make sure I wasn't stealing. We had a long talk. U have a blessed day Sandy,” the Grammy-nominated artist wrote on Apr. 30.

    Sephora responded the following day, writing, “You are a part of the Sephora family, and we are committed to ensuring every member of our community feels welcome and included at our stores.”

    Although Sephora acknowledged the incident, it said it’s upcoming training and new campaign was not in response to any one event. 

    “While it is true that SZA’s experience occurred prior to the launch of the ‘We Belong to Something Beautiful’ campaign, the campaign was not the result of this Tweet. However, it does reinforce why belonging is now more important than ever,” Sephora said. “Our entire organization is excited to set aside this time to re-commit to building an environment of inclusion.”

    >> Related: #BoycottStarbucks surfaces after video shows arrest of two black men at Philadelphia location

    This isn’t the first time a corporation has closed its doors for diversity training. 

    Last year, Starbucks closed more than 8,000 of its stores for a one-day training aimed at educating employees about racial bias. The training was announced after two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks, raising questions of racial bias and sparking criticism at the store and online.

     


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