The ice cream manufacturer has, since actively voicing their support for the Black Lives Matter movement four years ago, called for action once again.
It is one thing for companies to perform some lipservice in order to gain attention and market their products by riding off of the energy of the Black Lives Matter movement. It is another thing entirely to commit to the cause and actually call for action. Earlier this week, ice cream manufacturer Ben & Jerry's released an official statement demanding a complete restructuring of our present institutions to address white supremacy and correct historical injustices. The firm first pledged their support for the Black Lives Matter movement four years ago. Now, they are once again acting on this pledge, CNN reports.
Ben & Jerry's affirmed, "Today, we want to be even more clear about the urgent need to take concrete steps to dismantle white supremacy in all its forms." The company then laid out for objectives. Firstly, they asked for President Donald Trump and other elected officials "to commit our nation to a formal process of healing and reconciliation" by disavowing white supremacist groups and immediately withholding the use of aggressive tactics on protestors. Secondly, they want Congress to pass H.R. 40, a piece of legislation that would "create a commission to study the effects of slavery and discrimination from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies."
Thirdly, in line with George Floyd's family, Ben & Jerry's supported a "call to create a national task force that would draft bipartisan legislation aimed at ending racial violence and increasing police accountability." Last but not least, the company called on the Department of Justice to "reinvigorate its Civil Rights Division as a staunch defender of the rights of black and brown people." Will their statement completely change the status quo? Of course not. But this is an example of a company of doing what's needed. Not only are they standing on the right side of history, but they are also putting in the work to ensure they aren't just stating empty words or making hollow promises.
Unlike other companies, such as Netflix, Twitter, Disney, and Facebook, Ben & Jerry's published a statement that was both powerful and actionable. They aren't just advocating for civil rights - an easy enough thing to do - but they are addressing head-on the United States' history of discrimination. From calling out the systemic racism that proliferates our police departments ("What happened to George Floyd was not the result of a bad apple," they affirmed) to highlighting the country's role in slavery, the ice cream manufacturer showed that they truly understand the problem and want change.
Though the company was sold to British-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever (UL) in 2000, they have retained their original mission and vision. This is because, as part of the agreement, they retained their own independent board of directors. This gives them the ability to speak on the issues they care about, such as climate change, refugee rights, and, of course, racial injustice. A Ben & Jerry's spokesperson said in an interview with CNN, "We're a wholly-owned subsidiary [of Unilever], but we still act according to Ben & Jerry's mission, vision, and values." If only more companies shared those values.