Ben & Jerry’s Call To Dismantle White Supremacy In Compelling Black Lives Matter Statement
Ben & Jerry’s has taken a powerful stance in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, showing other businesses just how it should be done.
In a stirring statement, the ice cream giant called for an end to white supremacy, stating that George Floyd’s death was ‘the predictable consequence of a racist and prejudiced system’ rather than simply being a case ‘of a bad apple’.
Ben & Jerry’s statement comes as other companies face criticism over giving weak or impersonal responses to the ongoing protests, sparked after Floyd, 46, died at the hands of Minneapolis police.
In a statement that has been widely praised by Black Lives Matter activists, Ben & Jerry’s wrote:
The murder of George Floyd was the result of inhumane police brutality that is perpetuated by a culture of white supremacy.
What happened to George Floyd was not the result of a bad apple; it was the predictable consequence of a racist and prejudiced system and culture that has treated Black bodies as the enemy from the beginning.
While many companies and brands have shown support for the Black Lives Matter movement, especially this week in light of recent events, the statement from Ben & Jerry’s has stood out as exemplary and direct, addressing historic discrimination, current systemic racism, and calling for specific changes to policies.
What happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis is the fruit borne of toxic seeds planted on the shores of our country in Jamestown in 1619, when the first enslaved men and women arrived on this continent.
Floyd is the latest in a long list of names that stretches back to that time and that shore. Some of those names we know — Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Emmett Till, Martin Luther King, Jr. — most we don’t.
The company, which first pledged its support to the Black Lives Matter movement four years ago, is also taking ‘concrete steps to dismantle white supremacy in all its forms’, with its plan taking the form of four distinct steps.
The first step includes calling upon US President Trump to disavow the white supremacists and nationalist groups who support him, while steering away from using ‘aggressive tactics’ against Black Lives Matter protesters.
For the second step, Ben & Jerry’s is also calling upon Congress to pass H.R. 40, legislation that would create a commission to research the impact of slavery and discrimination from 1619 right up until the present day, producing recommendations for ‘appropriate remedies’.
Thirdly, the dessert company will be supporting Floyd’s family in their call for the creation of a national task force to draft bipartisan legislation to end racial violence and increase police accountability.
For the fourth step, Ben & Jerry’s has called upon the Department of Justice to ‘reinvigorate’ its Civil Rights Division ‘as a staunch defender of the rights of Black and Brown people’, while reinstating policies cut under President Trump, including consent decrees to tackle police abuses.
Ben & Jerry’s has long used its platform to push for change, with founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield having been arrested in 2016 for protesting against the influence of money in US politics.
The company has even raised awareness of political issues through its flavours, releasing Justice ReMix’d in September 2019 to push for criminal justice reform.
In 2018, Pecan Resist was released to protest against ‘regressive and discriminatory’ policies implemented by the Trump administration.
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