What does Vermont’s most famous ice cream company know about racial justice?
A few months ago I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I can across a story that made me do a double-take. The headline was one that’s becoming more and more common on social media—“7 Ways We Know Systemic Racism Is Real”—but the post’s source was what really caught my eye: Ben and Jerry’s. No stranger to taking on progressive issues, the Burlington, VT-based ice cream brand is still far more famous for its pun-filled flavors and celebrity tie-ins than serious discussions of race and racism.
Clicking through, however, I was deeply impressed at the company’s holistic breakdown of systemic racism, as they state “the way racism is built right into every level of our society.” In their post, they highlight the way people of color are repeatedly held back in America, from biased hiring practices and historical real estate redlining to harsher sentencing and policing tactics and poor healthcare access and treatment.
On October 6th, Ben and Jerry’s doubled-down on taking on systemic racism, declaring their support for the Black Lives Matter movement in a blog post that has since gone viral, being shared more than 65,000 times on Twitter with nearly 90,000 likes. The post has also spurred some threats of boycott, but overall the message has been well received and the company has affirmed its support of the racial justice movement.
It’s an excellent lesson that taking a stand on a critical issue isn’t seen as a risk for Ben and Jerry’s because—more than just great ice cream—it wants to be known for concerning itself with real challenges and fighting for real solutions. It’s also another reason for us ice cream fans to show our support for the company’s message by picking up an extra pint.
"Change happens when people are willing to listen and hear the struggles of their neighbor, putting aside preconceived notions and truly seeking to understand and grow. We’ll be working hard on that, and ask you to as well.
- Your friends at Ben & Jerry’s"