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Ben and Jerry's just explained systemic racism in a mic-dropping statement.

This ice cream company is tired of racial injustice, so they’re no longer remaining silent.

Ben and Jerry's just explained systemic racism in a mic-dropping statement.

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield have never been the kind of guys who shy away from demanding social justice.

When they aren’t making delightfully tasty ice cream flavors, the creators of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream are out to to ensure that the world is a better place for everyone.

This week, they made it clear that “a better place for everyone” also includes people of color:


In a statement that encapsulates some of the best of humanity, the Ben & Jerry’s team broke down why black lives matter.

They explained the systemic inequality plaguing communities of color and the simple, yet somehow still misunderstood, concept that asking for equal rights in the eyes of the law doesn’t mean that other lives do not matter.

Photo by Ade Johnson/AFP/Getty Images.

“Black lives matter," the statement reads. "They matter because they are children, brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers. They matter because the injustices they face steal from all of us — white people and people of color alike. They steal our very humanity.”  

The statement also explained the importance of standing together in “overcoming systemic racial injustice” by admitting there is, in fact, a problem:

“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.”  

Ben and Jerry’s outspoken support of Black Lives Matter is especially crucial right now.

When San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem to protest systemic injustice — an act he has the constitutional right to do — he received death threats, was berated by “fans,” and was questioned about his dedication to his country.

According to the Guardian, the number of people killed by police in the U.S. this year had already surpassed 800, more than half of which have been people of color. Black women are continuously being harassed on social media by racists for merely existing as a black woman. And black actors and actresses continue to be paid less than their white counterparts.

As Ben and Jerry aptly point out: We have a very big problem.

But their commitment to social justice and political responsibility isn’t new.

The ice cream tycoons have long worked toward addressing systemic injustice with social consciousness.

In April 2016, the co-founders were arrested outside the U.S. capitol while taking part in a “Democracy Awakening” protest, a movement to "protect voting rights, get big money out of politics, and demand a fair hearing and an up or down vote on President Obama's Supreme Court nominee.”

Black Lives Matter protesters. Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images.

They’ve also made strides in ensuring that the farmers who help produce the ingredients in delightful flavors, like Cherry Garcia and Chunky Monkey, are treated fairly. And in January 2015, they committed to using fair-trade certified ingredients, such as sugar, coffee, and bananas.

Ben & Jerry’s has also been — and continues to be — a vocal proponent of LGBTQ rights. (In 1989, the ice cream company was the first major company in Vermont to offer health insurance to same-sex couples and employees’ domestic partners.)

In short, Ben and Jerry been awesome for a long time, and they show no signs of slowing down.    

Their support of the Black Lives Matter movement is an example for companies like Air Academy Federal Credit Union, who dropped Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall for peacefully protesting police brutality and injustice.

Instead of cowering to those who are uncomfortable with reality, Ben & Jerry’s is using its platform to amplify the voices of the unheard and ask that the status quo be changed.  

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

This matters because when major companies, celebrities, politicians, and other recognizable faces go against the grain and stand up against inequality, they become upstanders that can ultimately affect real, positive change in the communities that need it most.  

Why? Because “All lives do matter. But all lives will not matter until Black lives matter.”    

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

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