Ben & Jerry’s ice cream has launched Empower Mint, a peppermint ice cream with fudgy Greyston brownies.
Co-founders Jerry Greenfield and Ben Cohen unveiled the new product at an event at North Carolina Central University, the first public liberal arts institution for African Americans in the US.
GMO-free and Fairtrade, the newest release from the Vermont-based ice cream maker is named for the belief that voting has the ability to empower all Americans – particularly those who have been, or continue to be, denied a vote. The pint tubs will be available for a limited time, with locations yet to be confirmed.
According to the company, holding the event on 17 May was no accident: 62 years ago, the Supreme Court issued its Brown v Board of Education ruling, ending the racist and discriminatory principle of “separate but equal”. Despite this, North Carolina and other states continue to pursue a “separate but equal” approach to voting, making it difficult for many citizens – especially minorities – to have their voices heard, Ben & Jerry’s said.
Empower Mint is part of the company’s year-long Democracy in Your Hands, campaign which promotes voting rights.
The company said it chose to launch the ice cream and campaign combination in North Carolina because “it is at the epicentre of the fight for voting rights in the United States”. Specifically, the company points to North Carolina’s controversial voting policies, passed as a reaction to a 2013 Supreme Court decision, including the state’s voter ID law.
“Since our country’s inception, many brave Americans have battled to expand voting rights and voter access for African Americans, for women, and young people, but the recent passage of restrictive policies in North Carolina takes our country backwards,” said Ben Cohen, co-founder of the ice cream company.
It’s a cause he’s willing to put himself on the line for: Cohen, along with Greenfield, was arrested earlier today during Democracy Awakening’s direct action event on the steps of the US Capitol building. Before their arrest, they told colleagues that “the history of our country [has shown] that nothing happens until people start putting their bodies on the line and risk getting arrested”.
The Democracy Awakening movement is targeting the flood of unregulated cash flowing into political campaigns and elections, as well as an increase in restrictions on Americans’ right to vote.
The apprehension was celebrated by the brand in a statement that begun “earlier today, our co-founders, Jerry Greenfield and Ben Cohen, along with hundreds of other activists, were arrested”.
The ice cream maker has history when it comes to making political and environmental points: in September, it added a raspberry variant to its line of Save our Swirled ice creams, which were launched to inspire consumers across the globe to demand action on climate change.
It also teamed up with experiential agency N20 to launch a bicycle-powered film festival in London, powered by environmentally friendly hybrid power technology including special bikes connected to a generator to power the big screen.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2021
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