Ben & Jerry's Releases Statement About Dismantling White Supremacy: 'Silence Is NOT An Option'

Ally Mauch

Ben & Jerry’s is speaking out about the killing of George Floyd, the unarmed Black man who died at the hands of Minneapolis police on May 25.

The popular ice cream brand, well-known for being vocal about social justice issues, issued a statement this week about the incident.

“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 statement, titled “Silence Is NOT an Option,” began.

The brand continued, detailing a tribute to Floyd: “We have to say his name: George Floyd. George Floyd was a son, a brother, a father, and a friend. The police officer who put his knee on George Floyd’s neck and the police officers who stood by and watched didn’t just murder George Floyd, they stole him. They stole him from his family and his friends, his church and his community, and from his own future.”

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In the past, Ben & Jerry’s and its cofounders, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, have spoken out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and other social justice causes.

In September, they released an ice cream flavor, Justice Remix'd, that is dedicated to criminal justice reform. Earlier, in 2018, the company announced the flavor Pecan Resist, aimed at resisting the “regressive and discriminatory policies” of President Donald Trump’s administration.

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In the recent statement, Ben & Jerry’s called for four action items in the wake of Floyd’s killing.

First, they asked Trump “to commit our nation to a formal process of healing and reconciliation.” Second, the company called upon Congress to pass H.R. 40, “legislation that would create a commission to study the effects of slavery and discrimination from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies.”

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“We cannot move forward together as a nation until we begin to grapple with the sins of our past. Slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation were systems of legalized and monetized white supremacy for which generations of Black and Brown people paid an immeasurable price,” the statement said. “That cost must be acknowledged and the privilege that accrued to some at the expense of others must be reckoned with and redressed.”

Finally, Ben & Jerry’s supported Floyd’s family in calling to create a national task force to draft legislation “aimed at ending racial violence and increasing police accountability” and called on the Department of Justice to reinvigorate its Civil Rights Division.

“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,” the statement concluded. “We have to use this moment to accelerate our nation's long journey towards justice and a more perfect union.”

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

  • Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.

  • ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.

  • National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.