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 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.”    

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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