National campaign kicks off with a seven-week tour in Georgia encouraging fans to stand up for voting rights and turn out for historic midterms
On National Voter Registration Day (September 20), Ben & Jerry’s, alongside Black Voters Matter, is unveiling a sweet new look and mission to their popular flavor, “Change is Brewing” — a cool combination of cold brew ice cream, marshmallow swirls, and fudge brownies. This rebranded flavor is focused on advancing racial justice through protecting voting rights and encouraging voter turnout ahead of November’s midterm elections by connecting voters with the Ben & Jerry’s Voter Resource Center.
At the founding of our nation, voting was limited to white, land-owning men. It was only in recent history that all Black people have had the right to vote, and even that was, and still is, a hard-fought right. The Voting Rights Act, landmark civil rights legislation passed in 1965, put important safeguards in place to protect the rights of Black voters. However, the Voting Rights Act was gutted in a 2013 Supreme Court decision that paved the way for a number of states to pass regressive voter suppression laws that make it harder, not easier, for people of color and young people to vote. Many states have since passed regressive voter ID laws, limited mail-in voting, and even limited distribution of water in voting lines.
“It is precisely because of the power of the Black vote that a number of states — all controlled by Republicans — are trying so hard to suppress it,” says Maroni Minter, US Activism Manager for Ben & Jerry’s. “That’s why today we are also excited to kick off a seven-week tour of Georgia in partnership with Black Voters Matter to engage voters across the state and connect them with information and tools they need to ensure that their vote is counted and their power is felt. And yes, there will be free ice cream.”
The seven-week tour, in conjunction with the Black Voters Matter We Won’t Black Down tour, will crisscross the state of Georgia in a Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Truck, hosting events and engaging voters in the run-up to the historic midterm election. The tour will visit HBCUs, big cities, and rural communities in partnership with Black Voters Matter, serving up free scoops of the decadent coffee-based flavor that is as delicious as it is inspiring.
Change is Brewing
Black Voters Matter works 365 days a year, in Georgia and beyond, to build power in marginalized, predominantly Black communities. The tour is part of a larger campaign that will use digital and social media channels, radio, newspaper, and outdoor advertising to encourage participation in the midterms and connect people to the Ben & Jerry’s Voter Resource Center, a tool that allows voters to check their voter-registration status, register to vote, find their polling place, and identify key election-related dates.
“Mobilizing and community-building with Black voters is mission critical for BVM,” says Cliff Albright and LaTosha Brown, co-founders of BVM, in a joint statement. “There are so many pressing national and local issues at the forefront right now from healthcare to housing to basic needs like access to clean water, which we know disproportionately impacts Black communities. While voting is always an exercise in using our power, we know this year that our safety, our health, our freedom is also on the ballot. And change happens when we use our power collectively at the voting booth. We look forward to partnering with Ben & Jerry’s while on our tour this fall, which has for so long been a voice for change in our communities, and will continue to do the necessary work of increasing progressive power through movement-building.”
The rebranded “Change is Brewing” pint design features the work of Black multi-disciplinary artist Laci Jordan, and builds on her first pint design. “Last year when we launched the Change is Brewing flavor, I imagined my ideal version of the world for Black communities. This year, the new visual reflects what I see as one of the integral pathways to actualizing that world – voting. This artwork underscores how important it is for the Black community to have access to the ballot box and to use our votes to move our communities and each other forward.”
The deep, rich coffee flavor in “Change is Brewing” is from BLK & Bold, the first Black-owned, nationally distributed coffee company — 5% of their profits go to programs to provide resources to youth in need. Greyston Bakery — a values-led supplier and longtime Ben & Jerry’s partner known for their groundbreaking Open Hiring program — provides the scrumptious fudge brownies. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Change is Brewing will go to Black Voters Matter to support their work.
To check your voter registration, eligibility status, and to pledge and make a plan to vote, visit action.benjerry.com/vote and then treat yourself to a pint of our new “Change is Brewing” to celebrate (in stores soon).