On Tuesday, the ice cream company Ben & Jerry's released a statement calling for justice in the killing of 46-year-old George Floyd by police and condemning the "inhumane police brutality that is perpetuated by a culture of white supremacy." The company also called out the numerous instances of violence perpetrated by police against protesters at Black Lives Matter demonstrations that have been ongoing since the murder of Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25.
"All of us at Ben & Jerry’s are outraged about the murder of another Black person by Minneapolis police officers last week and the continued violent response by police against protestors," the company began. "We have to speak out. We have to stand together with the victims of murder, marginalization, and repression because of their skin color, and with those who seek justice through protests across our country. We have to say his name: George Floyd."
They continued by connecting the racist roots of the United States to the continued racial violence that occurs in the form of police brutality.
"The murder of George Floyd was the result of inhumane police brutality that is perpetuated by a culture of white supremacy," the company wrote. 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 then laid out four points they believe will help the nation address these issues. First, they called on Trump to back away from the violent rhetoric he's used when addressing the Black Lives Matter protests and to publicly distance himself from the alt-right. "Instead of calling for the use of aggressive tactics on protestors, the President must take the first step by disavowing white supremacists and nationalist groups that overtly support him, and by not using his Twitter feed to promote and normalize their ideas and agendas," the company wrote. "The world is watching America’s response."
Second, the company pointed to H.R. 40 and called on congress to pass the legislation. H.R. 40 would establish a commission to examine the effects of slavery and racism and what steps could be taken to remedy its impacts.
Third, the company said it supports "Floyd’s family’s call to create a national task force that would draft bipartisan legislation aimed at ending racial violence and increasing police accountability."
Lastly, Ben & Jerry’s called for the Department of Justice to strengthen "its Civil Rights Division as a staunch defender of the rights of Black and Brown people. "
They concluded by writing, "Unless and until white America is willing to collectively acknowledge its privilege, take responsibility for its past and the impact it has on the present, and commit to creating a future steeped in justice, the list of names that George Floyd has been added to will never end. We have to use this moment to accelerate our nation's long journey towards justice and a more perfect union."
Head here to read the statement in full.
A few days after the statement was released, Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen was spotted at a protest by the White House.
Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben &Jerry’s, is sitting alone atop a blue cooler near the White House. He says he’s seeing where the protests take him today. Unfortunately, he’s out of ice cream.— Perry Stein (@PerryStein) June 5, 2020
He said people think this an issue for young people, but “it’s not just their issue” pic.twitter.com/PpBNjCyr5t
Ben & Jerry’s message on George Floyd, police brutality, and the long history of racism and white supremacy in the United States has been met with praise on social media.
Take a look at some reactions below.
Your company: “bland message about solidarity”— Camilla Blackett (@camillard) June 2, 2020
Ben & Jerrys: “WE HAVE THE TOOLS TO DISMANTLE WHITE SUPREMACY AND OUR NEXT FLAVOUR IS CALLED BURN THE BOOTLICKERS!” https://t.co/huRl0tDSfQ
Is this a flavor? Because I will buy 1000 pints of "We Must Dismantle The White Supremacy" and give it out to protesters.— Alice L (@BriscoeAndMcCoy) June 2, 2020
why did Ben and Jerry’s statement on dismantling white supremacy educate me more about black history than 12 years of sitting in history class? pic.twitter.com/NiWE1ETi8s— francine (@francine_lubin) June 2, 2020
Attention: if you are racist pls do not purchase from Ben & Jerry’s any longer! Pls leave the ice cream for me. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/6XVzdBRhCo— Kris (@trizzbits) June 2, 2020
I hope this is not controversial to say but...replace history textbooks with the Ben & Jerry's website https://t.co/py6nYaK0wb— Caity Weaver (@caityweaver) June 2, 2020
ben & Jerry’s statement is by far the best statement i have ever read pic.twitter.com/BvzR6Vn2Wp— ً (@bloodlineyuna) June 2, 2020
Ben & Jerry’s has made it clear a long time ago. minds you 4 years ago this was the most controversial hashtag on the internet pic.twitter.com/3H37aID3ve— 𝔇𝔦𝔳𝔦𝔫𝔞 (@_eyeliketacos) June 2, 2020
Real talk? Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia is hands down the best fuckin’ ice cream I’ve ever had in my life. The chocolate... the cherries.... the creamy vanilla on a hot day..... 😘👌🏾You just can’t get that anywhere else.— Jordan Peele (@JordanPeele) June 3, 2020