Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson Were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks last month for trespassing in the store. While the charges were dropped, the two gentleman stayed in a jail cell for eight hours. The discriminatory nature of the event sparked a national backlash.
Nelson and Robinson were launched into the judicial fiasco after they were arrested for sitting in a Starbucks restaurant in mid-April. They had been waiting to embark on a real estate business deal with a third party when the manager called the police and accused the young men of trespassing because they had not bought anything from the store.
Now, Mr. Robison and Mr. Nelson are being praised for their symbolically progressive settlement with the city.
In exchange for expunging the city and company of all claims, Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson are settling for $1 each and a pledge from the city to create a $200,000 grant program for high school entrepreneurs.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement, “I am pleased to have resolved the potential claims against the city in this productive manner,” adding that the men first proposed the idea to Philly officials “in an attempt to make something positive come of this.”
The 23-year-old men will both serve on a committee to create and award the grant, and the program’s curriculum is expected to help educate Philadelphia public school students on the challenges and benefits of being business owners. Neither Robinson, Nelson, or their attorneys will be receiving any money from the grant program.
Nelson and Robinson appeared on ‘Good Morning America’ to talk about the settlement and their goals for the grant.
Robinson wants the grant to focus on Philly’s community, and help students realize there potential in the business world.
Starbucks, the company that had faced a lot of scrutiny over the past few weeks, is taking extra steps to help Nelson and Robinson in completing their bachelor’s degrees.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson personally flew to Philadelphia to apologize to the men and thank them for their “willingness to reconcile”. In addition, the company will be closing all American stores on May 29th so they can give unconscious racial bias training to their 175,000 employees.
The $200,000 funds for the program will come from the city’s Finance Department budget, and Nelson and Robinson will work together on developing a committee to award the grants to young entrepreneurs.
“There are people out there that have other solutions, so we can keep moving forward like we really want to,” (Donte Robinson)