Ice cream giant Ben & Jerry’s is no stranger to giving back to the community or taking a political stance on critical issues. And today, on Sept. 3, the company is announcing the release of its newest flavor, Justice ReMix’d, created as part of its efforts to highlight structural racism in the criminal legal system.
For this new flavor, Ben & Jerry’s partnered with the Advancement Project to tackle the pervasive issue, and bring its multi-year campaign with the same name to life in a different form.
In an interview with ESSENCE, Jabari Paul, Ben & Jerry’s assistant activism manager, went into detail.
“Justice ReMix’d is our US activism campaign for the company. It’s a part of our social mission work as a corporation and it’s focused on front end criminal justice reform,” Paul said.
The company, Paul continued, has made it a point to bring about progressive change by working with local civic organizations and NGOs (non-governmental organizations).
Additionally, Ben & Jerry’s partnered with Color of Change, and continues to work with the ACLU.
“We’ve specifically, at a national level, focused on three issues, which are ending money bail, stopping unnecessary prosecutions, and disrupting the school-to-prison pipelines,” Paul said.
Partnering With The Advancement Project
According to the Guardian, about 98% of people held at the Workhouse were being held on pre-trial detentions. Essentially, they were unable to afford the bail to walk free ahead of their trials.
Currently, the company is also supporting one of the Advancement Project’s local partners in Miami, Florida, Power U Center for Social Change. The goal: Pressure the Miami-Dade County School Board to invest more in mental health and counseling services for students. Additionally, Ben & Jerry’s highlighted the need to divest from school policing.
“[School policing] often leads to contentious situations and feeds into the school-to-prison pipeline, Paul said.
The launch of the flavor is timed to coincide with a Miami-Dade County School Board vote surrounding the fiscal budget, where the company plans to be on-site, hand scooping the new flavor for attendees in order to encourage investment in mental health.
Staying True To The Brand
“[Ben & Jerry’s has] always had the philosophy as a company and as a brand that businesses have a responsibility to give back and to help communities make positive change. And over the last, I would say three to four years, we’ve been intentional about focusing on issues of racial justice,” Paul shared. “But what specifically led us to the work that we’re doing this year was our work in Florida. I believe that we were the first company to back…Amendment Four to restore voting rights for returning citizens or formerly incarcerated people. And our eyes were always open to the dysfunction of the criminal justice system, but certainly, that made it more obvious for us as a company. And that led us to work with groups this year to focus on front end criminal justice reform.”
What Does Justice Taste Like?
The new flavor consists of cinnamon and chocolate ice cream with gobs of cinnamon bun dough and spicy fudge brownies. The container features characters of different colors—some holding ice cream, some holding signs, and one holding a bullhorn demanding “justice for all.”
“The flavor is just one of many channels to really educate, engage, and encourage our fan base to ultimately take action and get involved in on the work that Advancement Project is doing around criminal justice reform and other issues,” he said.
Greyston Bakery & Formerly Incarcerated People’s Rights
Even what goes on inside the pint is purposeful and meaningful.
Greyston Bakery, one of Ben & Jerry’s vendors, has long made it a mission to employ people, regardless of their background. So it makes sense, then, that Greyston created the brownies used in Justice ReMix’d.
“Greyston’s Bakery has long had this kind of open hiring workforce where they employ people, no questions asked, a lot of them being formally incarcerated that could not otherwise find jobs,” Paul said.
“Greyston is very much about believing in second chances, giving people second chances,” he added. “They’ve been a longstanding vendor of ours and the flavor that we have incorporates Greyston’s brownies. That ties this narrative about showing support for criminal justice reform.”
Judith Browne Dianis, the executive director of Advancement Project National Office, made it clear that we’re in the urgency of now.
“Our community has been damaged greatly by an unjust criminal legal system. We must reimagine and build new systems so that we can all thrive. Our Justice ReMix’d partnership is about more than just ice cream; it’s about empowering our Black and Brown communities to enact change,” Browne Dianis said in a statement provided to ESSENCE. “
She continued, “We are readying for 2045 – the year when people of color will make up the majority in the U.S. In order for us to move forward in a racially just society, we need to work on remixing our justice system. We are glad Ben & Jerry’s thinks so, too.”Share :