Ben & Jerry’s takes their political fight to North Carolina with new ice cream flavor ‘Empower Mint’

Ben & Jerry's introduced a new flavor, Empower Mint, to kick off its "Democracy Is In Your Hands" campaign. –Photo courtesy of Ben & Jerry's

First, Ben & Jerry’s gave us Save Our Swirled to raise awareness about climate change. Then, I Dough, I Dough, in support of same-sex marriage.

There was even Bernie’s Yearning, a limited batch of ice cream in support of Bernie Sanders personally created by Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen.

It seems Ben & Jerry’s cannot stop mixing the sticky games of ice cream and politics, announcing a new flavor Tuesday to battle voter ID laws: Empower Mint.

The Vermont-based company will use a proportion of the proceeds from the new flavor to benefit the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP.

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According to a statement from Ben & Jerry’s, co-founders Cohen and Jerry Greenfield chose to launch Empower Mint, which features peppermint ice cream with chunks of fudge brownies and fudge swirls, in Durham, North Carolina because the state’s recent passage of voter ID laws makes it “the epicenter of the fight for voting rights in the United States.”

“Since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, the landmark civil rights law, a number of states have passed unacceptable voting access laws that make it harder for people vote – particularly Black people and their allies in the rising new majority such as young people, students, and other people of color,” says the company’s website.

The webpage introducing the new flavor also promotes a petition to reauthorize the 1965 Voting Rights Act, key parts of which were struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013.

Ben & Jerry’s launches Empower Mint in North Carolina today alongside Reverend William Barber from the NAACP.
Ben & Jerry’s launched Empower Mint in Durham, North Carolina on Tuesday alongside Reverend William Barber from the NAACP. —Photo courtesy of Ben & Jerry's

The 2013 decision aided a wave of states, including North Carolina, which had recently and have since continued to enact stricter voter ID requirements, as detailed by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Civil rights advocates say the laws suppress poor and minority voters, many of whom do not own photo IDs, while researchers at the Brennan Center for Justice say voter fraud and impersonation, the stated target of voter ID laws, are “very rare” and “nearly nonexistent,” respectively.

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Cohen and Greenfield have never been quiet about their political views, particularly over the last few years. The two ice cream entrepreneurs led the Stamp Stampede, an awareness campaign opposing the influence of money in politics. Cohen and Greenfield were also arrested outside the Capitol Building earlier this spring as part of a pro-democracy demonstration.

The company released a video Tuesday introducing the new flavor, featuring scenes from those demonstrations last month in Washington, D.C.

“This fudge-filled flavor reflects our belief that voting gives everyone a taste of empowerment, & that an election should be more ‘by the people’ and less ‘buy the people,'” the company’s website says. “We all deserve an equal serving of democracy.”

 

 

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