According to a recently released internal memo, Starbucks baristas will no longer write "Race Together" on customers' cups starting Sunday.
Starbucks spokesman Jim Olson says the campaign to create discussion on diversity and racial inequality will continue without the handwritten messages, which are phasing out as originally planned.
The memo from CEO Howard Schultz says the cups were always "just the catalyst" for a broader conversation and the company will still hold forum discussions, co-produce special sections in USA TODAY and put more stores in minority communities as part of the Race Together initiative.
The initiative has been criticized as opportunistic and inappropriate, coming in the wake of racially charged events such as protests over police killings of black males.
Olson says the change is not a reaction to that pushback.
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(Photo: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)