Ben & Jerry’s new flavor, called Empower Mint, is an ice cream with a cause: bring back voting rights to the United States.
The launch took place on May 17 at North Carolina Central University, the first public liberal arts institution for African Americans in the country. A portion of the proceeds of sales will go to benefit the North Carolina NAACP. It is peppermint ice cream with fudge brownies and fudge swirls.
Ben & Jerry’s co-founders, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, were arrested last month at the Democracy Awakening demonstration at the U.S. Capitol, along with North Carolina NAACP President Reverend Doctor William Barber.
“Ben and I were truly honored to be arrested with Rev. Barber protesting big money in politics,” Greenfield said at the launch.
Voter I.D. laws, shortening early voting and ending same day registering and voting are among the recent changes to state law undertaken by the Republican controlled General Assembly which contributed to North Carolina being chosen as the launching place of this national endeavor.
“The reason Ben & Jerry’s chose North Carolina is there’s a lot of activity in terms of voter rights and overcoming voter suppression efforts there,” Greenfield told the Huffington Post. “There’s also a real history of civil right struggle in North Carolina. For us, it’s about the groups doing work there.”
The date is also significant, as the Supreme Court issued their Brown v. Board of Education ruling, declaring racially segregated “separate but equal” schools unconstitutional, on May 17, 1954.
“Despite this, North Carolina and other states continue to pursue a ‘separate but equal’ approach to voting, making it absurdly difficult for many citizens, especially minorities, to have their voices heard in our democracy,” the company says on their website.
Empower Mint is a limited batch flavor, so it will not be available everywhere.
The Huffington Post reports that Ben & Jerry’s Greensboro franchise owner Antonio McBroom will be traveling around the state in an ice cream truck handing out free scoops and literature about avoiding falling prey to the new voting regulations and why Ben & Jerry’s opposes these changes.