Ben & Jerry’s declared U.S. policing is “violent, racist, ineffective, and punitive” while launching a new ice cream flavor in support of a public safety bill by Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., on Monday.
Change is Brewing, the new ice cream flavor “boldly celebrating safety & liberation for all,” was launched in support of Bush’s People’s Response Act, which would create a public safety agency within the U.S. Department of Health.
Bush said during a launch event Monday that the bill, co-sponsored by 20 other congressional members, would create “a unit of federal first responders – unarmed health experts that are culturally competent – to answer the call for the mental health and substance-use emergencies that happen.”
In a press release Monday, Ben & Jerry’s encouraged fans to sign a pledge supporting the bill.
“With its origins in white supremacy and slave patrols, American policing is violent, racist, ineffective, and punitive — it wasn’t built to ensure, and cannot guarantee, the health, safety, and well-being of all Americans,” the left-wing, Vermont-based company said. “Together with a criminal legal system that criminalizes poverty and Black and Brown people, policing is tearing communities and families apart.
“If passed, the PRA will help heal our communities and build equitable systems of care. Here’s everything you need to know,” it added.
Bush said she was “absolutely honored” by the partnership.
“Where I’m from, we’re sick and we’re tired of dying,” the congresswoman from St. Louis said. “Our communities have been hurting. We face gun violence on a daily basis. It’s not safe for many of our children to play outside. And we understand where that comes from. It’s not because the people are inherently bad. We know that this goes back to systems that were not mean to lift us.”
“Our current approach to public safety is not working,” she added. “The People’s Response Act writes a new future. This bill makes it clear that public safety is a public health issue.”