Open Letter To Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks

Newtown Coalition For Corporate Responsibility

August 23, 2013

Dear Mr. Schultz,

As members of the community of Newtown, Connecticut, we are writing you today because during our search for solace in wake of the events of last December it has come to our attention that your company continues to allow guns to be carried into its stores. Although we here in Newtown love our Starbucks, we are very concerned that your policy undermines the safety and wellbeing of our citizens.

As the tragedy that befell our community last year demonstrates, and as you well know, guns are dangerous. Starbucks itself prohibits guns in its corporate headquarters and other companies, such as PEET’S Coffee, IKEA, and Disney, have exercised their legal right to ban guns on their private premises. Since your company has been a champion of admirable causes in the past, such as LGBT rights and environmental sustainability, some gun owners in this country cite Starbucks’ stance on this issue as justification of the reasonableness of their choice to carry guns anywhere and everywhere, even into a place as unthreatening as a coffee shop. Your core customers are not such people; your core customers are people like us who have come to understand how guns jeopardize the stability of any environment. They are people who have come to understand that to prevent another Sandy Hook, we as a society must prioritize the sanctity of human life over the individual’s “right to carry.”

While we thank you for preventing gun carriers from senselessly inflicting further emotional trauma on our town by closing your Newtown location early last Friday, August 9th, we ask you this question: what about tomorrow and the day after that? What do you say to your customers in Wyoming, Texas, and Florida; where guns have injured three innocent people at Starbucks in the past two years? We ask you to—once and for all—give Starbucks customers everywhere the same protection that you afforded Newtown last Friday. If you make the decision to ban guns, your company has the chance to honor the 26 innocent lives lost here in Newtown and the 32,000 Americans lost annually to gun violence by becoming a leader in educating the public about firearm safety. We know by having observed and admired your continuing advocacy that your company not only understands but takes pride in its responsibility to promote the growth of a safe and just society. That is why we would like you to invite you to join us for a cup of coffee at our Starbucks in Newtown at a time and date of your convenience so we can talk about your company’s policy and gun violence in America. For the sake of your company, customers and employees across this country, please help us foster a culture of peace and ban guns from your stores.

Sincerely,

Newtown Coalition For Corporate Responsibility

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Signatures (as of 8/23/13):

Gilles Rousseau (Father of Lauren Rousseau, Teacher and Starbucks Barista Murdered in The Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting)
Joyce Rousseau (Stepmother of Lauren Rousseau, Teacher and Starbucks Barista Murdered in The Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting)
Matthew Rousseau (Brother of Lauren Rousseau, Teacher and Starbucks Barista Murdered in The Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting)
Andrew Rousseau (Brother of Lauren Rousseau, Teacher and Starbucks Barista Murdered in The Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting)
Erica Smigielski Lafferty (Daughter of Dawn Hochsprung, Principal Murdered in The Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting)
Danielle Vabner (Sister of Noah Pozner, 1st grader Murdered in The Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting)
Donna Soto  (Mother of Victoria Leigh Soto, Teacher Murdered in The Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting)
Carlos Soto  (Father of Victoria Leigh Soto, Teacher Murdered in The Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting)
Jillian Soto   (Sister of Victoria Leigh Soto, Teacher Murdered in The Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting)
Carlee Soto  (Sister of Victoria Leigh Soto, Teacher Murdered in The Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting)
Carlos Soto  (Brother of Victoria Leigh Soto, Teacher Murdered in The Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting)
Jane Greene Dougherty (Sister of Mary Sherlach, Teacher Murdered in The Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting)
Sarah D’Avino (Sister of Rachel D’Avino, Behavioral Therapist Murdered in The Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting)
Patricia Llodra, First Selectwoman of Newtown
Elizabeth Esty, United States Representative for Connecticut’s 5th district
Richard Blumenthal, United States Senator from Connecticut
Chris Murphy, United States Senator from Connecticut
Dannel P. Malloy, Governor of Connecticut
Newtown Action Alliance
Jr. Newtown Action Alliance
Emma Iannini, Sandy Hook resident and Field Director at National Gun Victims Action Council
Kara Baekey, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America Chapter Leader of Fairfield County, Connecticut
United Physicians of Newtown
Team 26 Inc.
Darren Wagner, Sandy Hook parent
Rabbi Shaul Praver, Congregation Adath Israel in Newtown
Rev. Matthew Crebbin, Senior Pastor at Newtown Congregational Church
Rev. Kathleen E. Adams-Shepherd, Rector at Trinity Episcopal Church in Newtown
Rev. Mel Kawakami, Senior Pastor at United Methodist Church in Newtown
Rev. Jane McCulloch Sibley, Associate Pastor at United Methodist Church in Newtown
Deacon Norman Roos Jr., St. Roses’ Catholic Church in Newtown
Myriam Woods, Principal at the Fraser-Woods Montessori School in Newtown
Abbey Clements, 2nd grade teacher at the Sandy Hook Elementary School