The 2 Black Men Arrested at Starbucks Started a $200K Fund for Young Entrepreneurs
“We feel like this is the best way to see that change that we want to see.”
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.
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.
"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.
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