Ben and Jerry’s Introduces Flavor to Raise Money for Criminal Justice Reform
Ben & Jerry’s partnered up with the nonprofit Advancement Project National Office to announce the brand’s newest ice cream flavor: Justice ReMix’d. The ice cream flavor was released to spotlight structural racism in the criminal justice system.
Justice ReMix’d is a cinnamon and chocolate ice cream with “gobs” of cinnamon bun dough and spicy fudge brownies. The new ice cream flavor aims to showcase the company’s multi-year campaign for criminal justice reform.
“Our approach to creating social change is to raise up the work non-profits are doing on the ground,” Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen said in a statement provided to The North Star. “We bring every resource we have to support them — our business voice, our connection with fans, our Scoop Shop community and of course, ice cream. Somehow, it’s easier to talk about difficult issues over a scoop or two.”
Ben & Jerry’s latest limited ice cream flavor is raising awareness and funds for the Advancement Project National Office, a national civil rights organization that works with local grassroots groups on racial justice issues.
“Our country needs to invest in services that build up communities rather than those that tear them down,” Advancement Project National Office Executive Director Judith Browne Dianis said in a statement to The North Star.
Browne Dianis continued: “That means ending a wealth-based pre-trial detention system that locks people up because they are poor, Black, or Brown. It means dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline, divesting from criminalizing students, and investing in the creation of high-quality education and services. It’s time to reimagine safety and justice.”
Grey’s Anatomy actor Jesse Williams, a member of the Advancement Project’s board of directors, said the issue was particularly important to him. Williams released two short videos on Instagram to celebrate Justice ReMix’d and discuss the work by Advancement Project.
The actor, who routinely advocates for social justice, shared that his organization works on key issues, including voter ID laws, the school-to-prison pipeline, and mass incarceration.
“Growing up in Chicago in the hood and seeing how much poverty is criminalized and how expensive it is to be broke,” Williams said in one of the videos, “is just simply not experienced in white suburbia.” He expressed his admiration for civil rights attorneys, who he called “heroes, social justice ninjas.”
He added: “Together we can transform the system to deliver justice for all instead of justice for some.”
The partners unveiled Justice ReMix’d at an event in Washington, DC. Proceeds will go to Advancement Project, Ben & Jerry’s said. The event spread to an ice cream social in southeast DC hosted by We Act Radio.
Ben & Jerry’s was founded in 1978 by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield. Unilever purchased the company in 2000 for $326 million, The New York Times reported. Before being sold, the company established an “external board” that was responsible for maintaining its culture and social mission.
The board, which still exists, can set aggressive new social impact targets and push back against its parent company, according to The New York Times. It also has the authority to sue Unilever and does not report to any other authority but itself. Since Unilever took over, Ben & Jerry’s has redoubled its commitment to local farmers and other environmental issues.
Along with its new ice cream, the creamery also announced it was deploying its Scoop Truck in a number of states “to spark conversations, activate community members, and give away ice cream.” In July, the brand sent its Scoop Truck to support the Close the Workhouse Coalition in St. Louis by participating in 27 events, giving away thousands of scoops of ice cream, and generating more than 1,000 messages to public officials.
The ice cream company joined the Power U Center for Social Change in Miami to urge the Miami-Dade County School Board to prioritize funding for mental health and counselors instead of additional security and surveillance.
The company is active in championing several other issues, including social justice, LGBTQ equality, fair trade, peace building, refugee support, and removing money from politics. According to The New York Times, it also pays its lowest-paid employees more than twice the national minimum wage.
The socially conscious new flavor will be available in grocery stores around the country and in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shops.
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various publications, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.