On April 12, 2018, a video recorded at a Philadelphia Starbucks captured the arrest of two innocent Black business people who asked to use the store’s restroom because a white employee called the police. The footage quickly spread across social media after its posting. Both Saahene and DePino witnessed their unjust arrests. In the 46-second clip, Saahene can be heard saying, “They didn’t do anything. I saw the entire thing.”
The viral moment changed the future of Starbucks, as the business received a ton of backlash. People protested at different locations nationwide, causing the company to close down all of its stores for a day to conduct diversity, equity and inclusion training with its employees to help prevent situations like this from happening again.
Shocked and upset to have witnessed a blatant case of racial discrimination, DePino tracked down Saahene to educate herself by having an honest dialogue about racism before she posted her video clip online.
“I really just did a simple thing,” DePino explained to The Los Angeles Times in a 2018 interview. “I witnessed something wrong and spoke up about it and shared it in my social network, which happens to be mostly white. That brought attention to this issue that really happens all the time.”
The conversation began a new friendship between Saahene and DePino, who launched Privilege to Progress. Their goal was to provide people with more information surrounding racism within the workplace. It led to them becoming one of the go-to resources for companies, including Google, Spectrum, Ikea, Yale and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, especially in light of George Floyd’s murder in 2020. They even appeared on Jada Pinkett Smith‘s Red Table Talk and MSNBC.
“White people are tired of hearing this story,” Saahene told attendees at paid engagements, per the LA Times. “We’re tired of living it, too. If you want to see racism dismantled, you have to show up to the conversation.”
Unfortunately, P2P would be short-lived after extended trips to Saahene’s homeland of Ghana expanded her perspective on what she and DePino were doing. Through this, she started to feel like she was the power player.
“I started to realize that I was the draw: my skin, my story,” Saahene recently told the Los Angeles Times. “I was growing faster and thinking about this all at a deeper, more complex level. … I told her the pain I was feeling about how we were making money off of this. Her responses were cold.”
She expressed to DePino that she deserved 50% of their business’ profit.
DePino, who managed the nonprofit filings, finances and social media content, disagreed.
“I thought we were working things out. I thought we were best friends,” DePino said in the interview. “Instead, I learned that we were not friends anymore. … The organization had a mission and she no longer supported it.”
Despite the friendship they once had, things took a turn for the worse following Saahene’s social media post calling DePino “manipulative” and discussed “the challenges of working with white women in racial justice,” sparking conflict between the two before they took down P2P’s website and social media platforms.
Both women are now focused on separate missions.