Ben & Jerry’s unveils new flavor to support Rep. Cori Bush's public safety bill

·3 min read

Here’s the scoop: Social justice awareness can now be found in the ice cream aisle.

Ben & Jerry’s has unveiled a new flavor to promote the People’s Response Act, legislation proposed by Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., that seeks to curb the disproportionate share of police violence against people with mental illnesses and other health complications.

The Vermont-based ice cream company on Monday launched Change Is Brewing, a limited-batch flavor of cold brew coffee ice cream with marshmallow swirls and fudge brownies. Jabari Paul, the company’s U.S. activism manager, announced the new flavor during a press conference along with the company’s declaration of support for the legislation and its continued commitment to advancing racial justice.

“The flavor supports the vision of the world in which every community is safe and everyone including Black and brown people can thrive,” he said.

The ice cream company teamed up with Black-owned coffee and tea company Blk & Bold and New York’s Greyston Bakery, famous for its brownies, for the flavor. And the graphic on the colorful ice cream carton was designed by artist Laci Jordan and features a Black woman painting the word “liberation.” Along with Bush, Ben & Jerry’s partnered with the Movement for Black Lives for the new effort.

The news comes just months after Bush announced the $10 billion proposal intended to transform public safety. The People’s Response Act would establish a division on community safety within the Department of Health and Human Services that would call upon nonpolice first responders for emergency situations stemming from mental health issues, substance use or other health or behavioral complications. The division would be tasked with funding and coordinating research and offering grant programs to promote “non-carceral, health-centered investments in public safety” on the state and local level.

Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., speaks with reporters at the Capitol on Aug. 2, 2021. (Jose Luis Magana / AP file)
Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., speaks with reporters at the Capitol on Aug. 2, 2021. (Jose Luis Magana / AP file)

“The People’s Response Act brings transformative change to our communities — change that is long overdue,” Bush told NBC News. “By shifting responsibilities of public safety to the Department of Health and Human Services, investing in grassroots organizations already doing the work of keeping our communities safe, and creating alternative responses to 911 calls for mental health emergencies, the People’s Response Act can and will transform public safety in our country. This is the future that we deserve — and Ben & Jerry’s support of this bill shows the momentum we have towards making it a reality.”

This isn’t the first time Ben & Jerry’s has taken a progressive stance on an issue.

In 2016, the company voiced its support for Black Lives Matter in a blog post explicitly mentioning police shootings and vowing not to “be silent about violence.” The company has also made strong statements about dismantling white supremacy and supporting refugees and transgender Americans. Ben & Jerry’s also teamed up with former NFL star Colin Kaepernick last year for a nonfat frozen yogurt called “Change the Whirled,” with proceeds going to his social justice organization, Know Your Rights Camp.

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