Ben & Jerry’s has put out a call for customers and ice-cream lovers to “dismantle white supremacy” and “grapple with the sins of our past” as sweeping protests over the in-custody death of George Floyd roar on across the country.
“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 protesters,” they said in a lengthy statement on Tuesday.
“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.”
The ice cream company, which does not shy away from political issues, also condemned “inhumane police brutality that is perpetuated by a culture of white supremacy” while demanding justice for Floyd.
Ben & Jerry’s issued a statement on Black Lives Matter in 2016.
The 46-year-old died in Minneapolis on Memorial Day after Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck until he became unresponsive. Video shared online, which has sparked nationwide unrest, shows Floyd in handcuffs and begging for his life.
The Hennepin County medical examiner on Monday ruled Floyd’s death a homicide and said in a report that he died from “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.”
Chauvin has since been arrested but none of the other three officers involved have yet been charged.
“What happened to George Floyd was not the result of a bad apple; it was the predictable consequence of a racist and prejudiced system and culture that has treated Black bodies as the enemy from the beginning,” said Ben & Jerry’s.
Floyd’s death is among several recent high-profile killings of black people, including Breonna Taylor in Louisville and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. Ben & Jerry’s invoked their names in the lengthy statement as well as victims of past racial violence, including Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Emmett Till, and Martin Luther King Jr.
Ben & Jerry’s, which has previously voiced its support for the Black Lives Matter movement, called on President Trump and elected officials to “to commit our nation to a formal process of healing and reconciliation.”
“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 company continued.
“The world is watching America’s response.”
The ice cream-makers also demanded that the Justice Department “reinvigorate its Civil Rights Division as a staunch defender of the rights of Black and Brown people.”
“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,” they concluded.
“We have to use this moment to accelerate our nation’s long journey towards justice and a more perfect union.”
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