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Ben & Jerry's sounds off on George Floyd death, calls on white America to 'acknowledge its privilege'
Ben & Jerry's is drawing viral praise online for a corporate statement it released this week expressing outrage over the recent death of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis after a white officer kneeled on his neck during an arrest.
In the statement, the ice cream company said its entire team is "outraged about the murder of another Black person by Minneapolis police officers last week and the continued violent response by police against protestors."
"We have to speak out. We have to stand together with the victims of murder, marginalization, and repression because of their skin color, and with those who seek justice through protests across our country. We have to say his name: George Floyd," the company continued in its statement.
Floyd died at the age of 46 roughly a week ago after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, was seen in now-viral footage kneeling on his neck during an arrest. In video of the arrest, Floyd could be heard telling Chauvin he couldn't breath as the officer continued to kneel on his neck.
The Hennepin County medical examiner on Monday ruled Floyd's death a homicide and said in a report that he died from "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression."
Chauvin has since been fired from the Minneapolis Police Department, along with three other officers who were involved in Floyd's arrest, and is facing charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Ben & Jerry's called Floyd's death "murder" in its statement this week and said it "was the result of inhumane police brutality that is perpetuated by a culture of white supremacy."
"What happened to George Floyd was not the result of a bad apple; it was the predictable consequence of a racist and prejudiced system and culture that has treated Black bodies as the enemy from the beginning," the company said.
"What happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis is the fruit borne of toxic seeds planted on the shores of our country in Jamestown in 1619, when the first enslaved men and women arrived on this continent," it continued. "Floyd is the latest in a long list of names that stretches back to that time and that shore. Some of those names we know - Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Emmett Till, Martin Luther King, Jr. - most we don't."
In the statement, it also called for several measures to be taken in an effort to "dismantle white supremacy in all its forms" in the country going forward.
First, the company called on President Trump and other elected officials to commit the "nation to a formal process of healing and reconciliation."
"Instead of calling for the use of aggressive tactics on protestors, the President must take the first step by disavowing white supremacists and nationalist groups that overtly support him, and by not using his Twitter feed to promote and normalize their ideas and agendas," it said.
It also called on Congress to pass legislation "that would create a commission to study the effects of slavery and discrimination from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies" and said it backs Floyd's family's "call to create a national task force that would draft bipartisan legislation aimed at ending racial violence and increasing police accountability."
"Unless and until white America is willing to collectively acknowledge its privilege, take responsibility for its past and the impact it has on the present, and commit to creating a future steeped in justice, the list of names that George Floyd has been added to will never end," the company said.
The company is one of a growing list of businesses and corporations across the country that have released statements condemning police brutality and racism in the wake of Floyd's death.
However, Ben & Jerry's statement immediately stood out on social media and has drawn an outpour of praise from figures like Jemele Hill and others who say it's one corporate statement well worth the read.