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'Black Lives Matter' to Ben & Jerry's

By Rolanda Joubert/Managing-Online Editor
On November 10, 2016

Rolanda Joubert

NEW ORLEANS (Nov. 10, 2016) – Kudos to Vermont-based creamery Ben & Jerry’s, which recently released an official statement through the company’s Twitter account and its website in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, calling  “systemic and institutionalized racism” the defining civil rights and social justice issues of our time.

Company founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield have never been afraid to express their opinions on prominent social and political issues.

The company has previously dedicated ice cream flavors in support of marriage equality. They also did their part by raising awareness of climate change. Earlier this year, the ice cream company confirmed their support for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders by creating the limited time flavor, “Bernie’s Yearning.”

This spring, another flavor was created “Empower Mint.” Describing the new flavor, the company’s release said it “reflects our belief that voting gives everyone a taste of empowerment, and that an election should be more ‘by the people’ and less ‘buy the people!’ ”

Regarding the latest social issues campaign for the company, the company tweeted, “Black Lives Matter. Choosing to be silent in the face of such injustice is not an option.” It said the company’s ultimate goal is to get everyone to join them in not being complicit – not just listening, but truly understanding the struggles of those oppressed is necessary to resolve the problem. It spoke up about police brutality and the overwhelmingly long list of unarmed black men and women killed by police officers.

According to recent census data, African Americans account for 13 percent of the total U.S. population, yet we also account for 24 percent of those fatally shot and killed by police officers. In an analysis done by The Post, “Black Americans are 2.5 times as likely as white Americans to be shot and killed by police officers.”

The Ben & Jerry’s website also featured a separate section featuring seven areas of systemic racism: wealth, employment, education, housing, surveillance, health care and criminal justice.

According to demos.org, white families hold 90 percent of the national wealth while blacks only hold 2.6 percent.

Mass incarceration is another big issue that we as minorities are facing. From 1970-2005, the prison population has increased 700 percent, according to a report done by Pew’s Public Safety Performance Project. The 13th Amendment was said to have abolished slavery, but this was not the case. Instead, the 13th Amendment made slavery legal as a form of punishment for those imprisoned.

According to the NAACP, African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population. Because of mass incarceration, our black men have been taken from us; that’s why I feel it is vital to take a stand against today’s issues.

I stand in support with Ben & Jerry’s and what they are doing to bring light to a very real issue affecting our community. A number of companies try to stay neutral when it comes to these kinds of issues, but I applaud them for taking the correct action when faced with adversity.

I hope the company will create a new flavor in honor of the Black Lives Matter movement. When the company first released its statement on the issue, fans took to Twitter to voice their opinions under the hashtag #BenandJerrysNewFlavor.

Fans from all over began creating clever names in hopes of creating a new flavor’s name. Some uniquely funny names are “Rocky Road to Equality,” “Pop, Lock, & Chocolate,” and “Timmy Timmy Timmy Turnover.”

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