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The Christian Science Monitor reports that Starbucks has announced that 97 of its stores in the Seattle area have been declared to be official "Safe Places" for members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community.

The story says that the declaration was made in partnership with the the Seattle Police Department’s “Safe Place” program, which requires employees to be trained “how to respond to and engage with LGBT victims of violence and effectively report hate crimes to police." According to the Monitor, the program, "started by openly gay Seattle Police Officer Jim Ritter, is a campaign against bias crimes. Since May, Officer Ritter has spoken with 650 businesses across Seattle, all of whom have supported the campaign, displaying rainbow-badge decals in their windows."
KC's View:
It is a shame that any city has to have a "safe place" program to protect any of its citizens ... but kudos to Seattle for addressing this specific issue head-on. Of course, we seem to be reminded on a consistent basis of how much hate there is out there for so many people, all of it related to their place of birth, the color of their skin, the religion they practice, their gender-orientation, or whatever happens to stir the ire of intolerant and ignorant people. Sure, we're living in 2015 ... but there are moments when it might as well be the dark ages.