Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream could start naming several flavors after African-Americans. A Vermont activist has started a “creamy” campaign to get the dessert company to honor people such as Colin Kaepernick.
“Ben & Jerry’s has been talking the social justice talk for 40 years,” Curtiss Reed Jr. wrote in a change.org petition addressed to B & J CEO Jostein Solheim. “However it has yet to walk the walk of racial justice as evidenced by who it chooses to feature on its pints of ice cream.”
Looking back through B & J’s 40-year history, Black Americans have not been celebrated. The company had only introduced an option called “Yes Pecan,” a play on Barack Obama‘s famous “Yes We Can” campaign motto, in 2009. But that’s it.
B & J’s featured flavors overwhelmingly pay homage to several white men and women. Late night talk show host Stephen Colbert inspired the AmeriCone Dream, and Jerry Garcia is the muse behind the flavor Cherry Garcia. Elton John and John Lennon also had flavors: Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road and Imagine Whirled Peace. One of the few women to be honored was Vermont Olympic snowboarding gold medalist Hannah Teter with the Maple Blondie pint.
The blackout when it comes to Ben & Jerry’s is not acceptable, Reed said.
“Send a message to Ben & Jerry’s that Colin Kaepernick, our modern day Mohammed Ali, should grace a pint!,” Reed said. “What better way to show the rest of the world a corporate ethos fighting for racial justice.”
Reed’s idea may finally get attention from Ben & Jerry’s, whose executives sat with leaders of color a few years ago, the activist, who is also the executive director of the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity, said to VTDigger, a Vermont news source.
Ben & Jerry’s recently created a display at its factory in Waterbury, Vermont, that recognized Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1968 Poor People’s Campaign, which has been reincarnated with a new set of activists this year. But the company has more work to do in reaching customers via supermarket freezers with new flavors that pay homage to people of color.
B & J offered a statement about Reed’s passionate campaign.
“While we don’t talk about future launches, we can say that we admire Colin Kaepernick for courageously standing up against racism and injustice in our country,” Laura Peterson, a spokesperson, said. “Particularly in these times, standing up for equity and justice is as important as it’s ever been.”