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Rashon Nelson, left, and Donte Robinson, right, both 23, sit on their attorney's sofa as they pose for a portrait following an interview on April 18, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pa. Their arrests at a local Starbucks quickly became a viral video and galvanized people around the country who saw the incident as modern-day racism.
Jacqueline Larma/AP

The 2 Black Men Arrested at Starbucks Started a $200K Fund for Young Entrepreneurs

After suing a company worth billions and winning a $200,000 settlement, the two black men arrested at a Starbucks last month in a highly-publicized and much-debated racial profiling case are only pocketing $1 each. Instead of keeping the money, they’re doing something much more important.

They’re paying it forward.   

On Wednesday, Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson, who were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks in early April, are setting up a program aimed at supporting young entrepreneurs at area high schools, the Associated Press reports

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"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," Robinson told AP. 

The $200,000 program will be launched in collaboration with the city, according to the report. 

And in Philadelphia — where more than two in five high school students are black, and black students suffer disproportionate rates of suspension and lower graduation rates than white students — Robinson and Nelson may be on to something. 

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Read More: 8 Powerful Reactions to Starbucks’ Decision to Close Its Stores for Racial Bias Training

While the details of the program have not yet been made public, it could play a role in starting to address the pernicious wealth gap in the “City of Brotherly Love.” According to a study by Brown University, blacks are about three times more likely to live in a high-poverty neighborhood than whites in Philadelphia. 

Some have argued that this divide may have played a role in the arrest of the two men in a predominantly white, high-income neighborhood in the first place. 

But Robinson and Nelson believe giving young, black students opportunities to join the high-tech workforce could help reduce the gap. It will not happen overnight, especially given the racial disparity in access to capital, but Robinson says they’re looking at the long-term. 

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"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,” he said. 

Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, and access to quality education is goal number four. You can join us and take action here