- The Washington Times - Friday, October 7, 2016

Ben & Jerry’s declared its support for the Black Lives Matter movement on Wednesday, telling customers that to be silent on the issues that black people face is to be complicit in their oppression.

The Vermont-based ice cream company, founded by liberal activists Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, issued a lengthy statement on its website Wednesday saying “systemic and institutionalized racism” are the “defining civil rights and social justice issues of our time.”

“We’ve come to understand that to be silent about the violence and threats to the lives and well-being of Black people is to be complicit in that violence and those threats,” the statement read. “All lives do matter. But all lives will not matter until Black lives matter.”

Ben & Jerry’s said it felt a “moral obligation” to cast a light on the growing list of “unarmed Black Americans killed by law enforcement officers.” 

“We respect and value the commitment to our communities that those in law enforcement make, and we respect the value of every one of their lives,” the statement read. “But we do believe that — whether Black, brown, white, or blue — our nation and our very way of life is dependent on the principle of all people being served equal justice under the law. And it’s clear, the effects of the criminal justice system are not color blind.

“We do not place the blame for this on individual officers. Rather, we believe it is due to the systemic racism built into the fabric of our institutions at every level, disadvantaging and discriminating against people of color in ways that go beyond individual intent to discriminate. For this reason, we are not pointing fingers at individuals; we are instead urging us to come together to better our society and institutions so that we may finally fulfill the founding promise of this country: to be a country with dignity and justice for all.”

The statement spurred the hashtag #BenAndJerrysNewFlavor on Twitter, which became a top trending U.S. topic on Friday afternoon. Some of the more popular flavor suggestions included “Go Shawty It’s Sherbet Day,” “Hands up, Don’t Scoop,” and “Fudge the Police.”

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