The ice cream brand began its letter by reminding everyone to keep Floyd alive as a human being and not just another statistic. “George Floyd was a son, a brother, a father, and a friend. The police officer who put his knee on George Floyd’s neck and the police officers who stood by and watched didn’t just murder George Floyd, they stole him. They stole him from his family and his friends, his church and his community, and from his own future,” it read.
The statement continued to dig deeper into the culture of white supremacy, with Ben & Jerry’s noting that Floyd’s murder was not an isolated case, but rather the effect of a system that has been demeaning Black lives from its inception. It wrote, “What happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis is the fruit borne of toxic seeds planted on the shores of our country in Jamestown in 1619, when the first enslaved men and women arrived on this continent. Floyd is the latest in a long list of names that stretches back to that time and that shore. Some of those names we know — Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Emmett Till, Martin Luther King, Jr. — most we don’t.”
Ben & Jerry’s demands that the former Minneapolis PD officers — Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane — be convicted for their crimes. The company understands, however, that a conviction for these four men are not enough. We must all undergo a huge systemic change to bring real justice for Floyd, those before him and the Black community, and it can only be done by dismantling white supremacy.
The company called for four things: the first upon President Donald Trump, the elected officials and political parties to aid in healing the nation, specifying that the President must first renounce white supremacists and nationalist groups that support him. Secondly, the call to Congress to pass H.R. 40 — legislation that will create a commission that fully studies the effects of slavery and discrimination beginning 1619 and two suggest proper remedies. “We cannot move forward together as a nation until we begin to grapple with the sins of our past. Slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation were systems of legalized and monetized white supremacy for which generations of Black and Brown people paid an immeasurable price. That cost must be acknowledged and the privilege that accrued to some at the expense of others must be reckoned with and redressed,” the company said.
Ben & Jerry’s also voiced support for Floyd’s family as they request the creation of a national task force responsible for drafting bipartisan legislation focusing on ending racial violence and increasing police accountability. Lastly, the company called on the Department of Justice to rejuvenate its Civil Rights Division to defend the rights of the Black and Brown communities and to restore shelved policies that will aid in their protection.
“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. We have to use this moment to accelerate our nation’s long journey towards justice and a more perfect union,” the statement ends.