Colin Kaepernick, a civil rights activist and former NFL football quarterback, has been drawing attention toward acts of police brutality against people of color for years.
It became acknowledged by mainstream media when he first took a knee during the national anthem in 2016.
His protesting was originally met with mixed reactions. Kaepernick has been using his voice to advocate for racial equality for a long time. In addition to taking a knee, others recently have been protesting or donating to organizations to help end police brutality and racial injustices.
Kaepernick as a Public Icon
The most recent act of activism is with Ben & Jerry’s newest flavor “Change the Whirled.” The ice cream is caramel with fudge chips and swirls of graham crackers and chocolate cookies. It’s also non-dairy and vegan, with a sunflower butter base. It will start selling as a permanent item in grocery stores in 2021.
“By giving Colin Kaepernick his own flavor, Change the Whirled, Ben & Jerry’s is honoring the work the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback has already done to bring attention to police brutality against people of color. But it’s also giving his message the mass-market treatment, softening it for those who remain resistant to Kaepernick’s fight in a way only the iconic ice cream maker can, one spoonful at a time,” according to an article from USA Today.
Kaepernick is also donating his proceeds toward his Know Your Rights Camp. The organization helps advance the liberation of the Black community.
Since his first actions in 2016, Kaepernick continues to be a civil rights voice. A couple of years ago he was also on a Nike ad. He was also very active when the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and others came to light. His activism also caused the NFL to look inwardly on some of their previous actions. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell even issued an apology for not listening to African-Americans players’ concerns.
Ben & Jerry’s & BLM
As a company, Ben & Jerry’s has always been one of the first to make political or activist statements. On June 2, national blackout day, most people posted photos of a black square to their social media feed. However, the ice cream company instead posted a photo with “We must dismantle white supremacy” in all caps.
The company has been the example for other companies on what corporate activism can look like in 2020. Besides supporting Black Lives Matter activism, the company has also taken a stance on maany other social issues.
“From same-sex marriage to criminal justice reform to campaign finance, Ben & Jerry’s has taken a stance on nearly every major social issue of the last three decades. It’s also tried to reflect those values internally — to varying degrees of success — by sourcing ethical products throughout its supply chain and paying Vermont employees a liveable hourly wage,” according to an article from Huffpost.
Activism as a Company
The company has always taken stances right out of the gate. Instead of waiting to see how other large companies react, they act on moral beliefs.
Their revenue also hasn’t suffered, they still made $681.5 million in sales last year.
Kaepernick’s work was criticized directly by Donald Trump and his supporters, he was also blackballed by the NFL.
People are now recognizing his mistreatment. Public appeal of sports activism or celebrity activism has gone up. Seeing his face every day on an ice cream carton can be a reminder of that.
“A Yahoo News/YouGov poll conducted June 9 and 10 found that public support for Black Lives Matter has more than doubled in the last four years, with 57 percent of Americans now saying they have a favorable view of the movement. Sixty percent said racism is “built into American society,” and the same percentage said the deaths of Black and brown people are signs of a broader problem, rather than isolated incidents,” said another USA Today report.