by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)
According to nbcnews.com, Rashon Nelson, 23, and Donte Robinson, 23, the two men whose arrest at a Starbucks last month set off a wave of protests against the coffee corporation for discrimination have reached a settlement with the city of Philadelphia, the Mayor’s Office stated today.They will each be paid a symbolic $1 and release the city and employees of all claims in exchange for the creation of a $200,000 fund that, through the help of a nonprofit organization, will assist young entrepreneurs in Philadelphia. Robinson and Nelson are to serve on the committee that will establish and award the grant, which will focus on starting a pilot curriculum for public high school students to attain the skills to become business owners.
The mayor’s office stated that Nelson, Robinson and their attorneys will not receive any payment from the grant funds. The money will come from the budget of the city’s Finance Department.
“I am pleased to have resolved the potential claims against the City in this productive manner,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement. “This was an incident that evoked a lot of pain in our City, pain that would’ve resurfaced over and over again in protracted litigation, which presents significant legal risks and high financial and emotional costs for everyone involved.” He added that Robinson and Nelson themselves approached the city with the grant fund idea “in an attempt to make something positive come of this.”
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson in a statement Thursday said a confidential financial settlement between Nelson, Robinson and Starbucks has been reached and thanked the men for their “willingness to reconcile.”
“I welcome the opportunity to begin a relationship with them to share learnings and experiences,” he said.
The coffee chain on May 29 plans to close more than 8,000 U.S. stores for an afternoon to train nearly 175,000 workers in “racial-bias education.”
Robinson, who said he’s been a Starbucks customer since he was 15, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the agreement with the city of Philadelphia was the right decision. “We thought long and hard about it and we feel like this is the best way to see that change that we want to see,” he said. “It’s not a right-now thing that’s good for right now, but I feel like we will see the true change over time.”