The famous Vermont-based ice cream company Ben & Jerry’ is one of the first major businesses to publicly declare its support for the “defund the police movement” through a Twitter post back in June on the Juneteenth holiday, a day commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
The company’s tweet read “Defund the police, defend Black communities! This #Juneteenth, it’s more important than ever that we dismantle the racist and ineffective model of American policing. Learn more about how defunding the police works and why we so desperately need it.” Posted underneath the tweet is a picture of a large bowl of ice cream labeled “US Police Budget $115 Billion” that is being redistributed to smaller bowls of ice-cream labeled “Affordable housing,” “Job training,” “Education,” “Mental-health counseling,” and “Substance-abuse treatment.” The tweet also includes a link to their website affirming the company’s stance on “defund the police.”
Defund the police, defend Black communities! This #Juneteenth, it’s more important than ever that we dismantle the racist and ineffective model of American policing. Learn more about how defunding the police works and why we so desperately need it: https://t.co/JLY6f0u5y3 pic.twitter.com/3UnML38dDx
— Ben & Jerry's (@benandjerrys) June 19, 2020
On their website, the ice cream company opens up a statement about the meaning behind Juneteenth: “Juneteenth is celebrated every year to mark the end of slavery. But while slavery may have ended on June 19, 1865, that did not usher in a new era of freedom for formerly enslaved people. Jim Crow. Mass incarceration. Police brutality. All forms of enslavement by different names. Even today, 155 years later, we know that black men, women, and children are not truly free. They’re not free to live their own lives in their own skin, free of harassment, free of violence, and free of fear. It’s long past time for that to change.”
“In the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police officers, we’ve been hearing calls in the streets to “defund the police.” For Juneteenth 2020, we thought we’d take a look at the “defund” movement and explain why it offers the best opportunity in generations to completely transform our model of policing and create stronger, safer communities where Black Americans and people of color can finally experience and celebrate true freedom,” the website said.
The website continues with a detailed list of their interpretation of what defund the police means to them: “that we stop spending our tax dollars on so many of the discredited, dangerous, and racist parts of policing and instead invest that money in community-driven solutions that foster real health, peacekeeping, and safety. So, rather than endlessly growing police budgets, loading up on manpower, surveillance, armor, and weapons of war, we’d increase funding for things that people really need, like affordable housing, job training, education, healthcare, mental-health treatment and counseling, substance-use treatment and counseling, childcare, parks and recreation, and community centers and libraries.”
The website ends their disquisition with “George Floyd was murdered over a disputed $20 transaction at a grocery store. The response by the police took his life, failed his community, and made our world less safe….it’s time to liberate ourselves from a dangerous, racist model of law enforcement and work toward a new vision of building thriving communities where all people have what they need to be healthy and safe. Let’s dismantle the old system and build a new one that guarantees freedom and justice for all.”
Ben & Jerry’s publicly announced its support for the Black Lives Matter movement four years ago and has published several articles about white supremacy and the importance of voting in local elections since.
— Ben & Jerry's (@benandjerrys) June 2, 2020