Ben & Jerry’s issued a powerful statement Tuesday calling for four ways to dismantle white supremacy in response to the killing of George Floyd who died in police custody in Minneapolis last week.
The Vermont-based ice cream maker shared a post to their website titled “Silence is NOT an option” amid continued protests against police brutality across the country.
“All of us at Ben & Jerry’s are outraged,” the statement said. “We have to speak out. We have to stand together with the victims of murder, marginalization, and repression because of the color of their skin, and with those who seek justice through protests throughout the country. We have to say his name: George Floyd.”
The company’s statement says that what happened to Floyd was not a result of “a bad apple."
“It was a predictable consequence of a racist and prejudiced system and culture that has treated Black bodies as the enemy from the beginning,” the company said. The statement also noted that Floyd is the latest in a long list of names that stretches back to 1619, when the first enslaved men and women arrived on this continent. “Some of the names we know,” the company said, listing Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Emmett Till, and Martin Luther King, Jr. “Most we don’t.”
On Tuesday, the company made four calls to action, including ones directed at President Trump, elected officials, and political parties.
“Instead of calling for the use of aggressive tactics on protesters, 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 world is watching America’s response,” the post said.
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.”
“We cannot move forward together as a nation until we begin to grapple with the sins of our past,” the company said.
Third, the company said it supports the Floyd family’s call to create a national task force that would draft bipartisan legislation aimed at ending racial violence and increasing police accountability.
And finally, 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.”
Ben & Jerry’s has a history of supporting social justice initiatives. In 2016, the company issued their support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were arrested as part of the “Democracy Awakening” protests in Washington, D.C., in 2016. They also dedicated a pint to progressive Vermont senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
Read the full statement from Ben & Jerry’s below:
‘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. 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.’
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