Outspoken ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s hopes change is brewing — or at least that’s what their latest flavor of ice cream suggests.
The business partnered up with BLK & Bold, the first Black-owned, nationally distributed coffee company, and Greyston Bakery, a values-led supplier and longtime Ben & Jerry's partner, to create the frozen treat called “Change is Brewing” in support of U.S. Rep. Cori Bush’s “People's Reponse Act.”
The act calls for a health-centered approach to policing.
The ice cream has a deep, rich coffee flavor and its carton depicts a colorful scene of what the world might look like when Black people feel safe and all communities can thrive, created by Black multi-disciplinary artist Laci Jordan.
Bush, D-St. Louis, spoke during the flavor unveiling on Monday. She said it was an honor to be part of this collaboration and she was stunned that she found herself in this position.
“This amazing artwork behind me is just a testament to the work that we started years ago, more than seven years ago and the work that we continue today,” she said. “Thank you to Ben & Jerry's and to the Movement For Black Lives for your continued partnership in this justice work for this movement.”
The unveiling came less than a week after the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the Center for Policing Equity released findings from a seven-year analysis of SLMPD’s policing practices and behaviors. It found that Black pedestrians were stopped 2.3 times as often as white pedestrians per year on average and were subjected to force 4.3 times as often. It also found that when police pulled out their firearm, 90% of the time it was pointed at a Black person.
“I walked into Congress as the politivist, I’m not taking off the Ferguson activist [hat] as I do this work,” she said. “Everything that I do, everything I’ve done I’ve done for St. Louis. And it was with St. Louis in my heart that we introduced The People’s Response Act earlier this year.”
Jabari Paul, U.S. Activism Manager for Ben & Jerry's, said the company supports the legislation because it believes it would transform public safety in the U.S.
"We've come to understand that public safety is also a matter of public health,” Paul said. “Congresswoman Bush's legislation begins to make that important link by creating a public safety division within the Department of Health and Human Services."
The People's Response Act was developed in partnership with community organizers, grassroots organizations, and movement partners, including the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL).
Monifa Bandele, a member of the leadership of M4BL's Policy Table, said it would create a new future for Black people.
"Now is the time for Congress to embrace bold, courageous leadership and join Congresswoman Cori Bush in co-sponsoring The People's Response Act and ensuring its final passage,” Bandele said.
Ben & Jerry's and M4BL are two of more than 70 organizations that have publicly supported The People's Response Act.
“Where I'm from we're sick and we're tired of dying,” Bush said. “For decades our communities have suffered under the violence of intentional disinvestment and underfunding. Our health care, our education, our housing, our green spaces — all left in shambles while our police spending per capita continued to increase to its present level as one of the highest in the country.”
The results of that spending, she said, have been deadly.
The new ice cream, Change is Brewing, will be available as a limited batch flavor at participating Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops and on store shelves. A portion (not specified) of the proceeds from sales will go to grassroots groups working to transform public safety in America.
“Today is yet another example of the momentum that we have to pass this legislation and start saving lives,” Bush said. “I'm committed to continuing to do this work with my colleagues in Congress and push this across the finish line. Because when it comes to saving lives, when it comes to saving people, when it comes to the dignity and safety of humans, we cannot wait.”