Friends - spurred by the Ms. Blog post re: Ben and Jerry's, and my reaction to it, I wrote this letter, which I will devilver to Ben and Jerry next week. If you'd like your name to appear as a co-signer, please comment!
Dear Ben and Jerry,
I am writing this note to you from a place of deep love and respect for your work, your mission, and your product. I am one of many women who love social justice, equality, and delicious ice cream. My soul has been comforted by the words of Adrienne Rich, the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., the comedy of Gilda Radner, the music of Nina Simone, and the taste of Chubby Hubby.
So I write this not because I am angry at you, but because I love what you do, and I want to continue to love it as part of the rich, complex, diverse web of things that I love and want to stand up for.
Most likely, this letter has already been brought to your attention, but if it hasn’t, please let me bring it to your attention: http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2011/09/30/an-open-letter-to-ben-and-jerry/
Like the writer I was shocked, and then dismayed to realize that she was right: that your tributes have all but ignored the contributions of women, people of color, GLBT people, young people, and anyone not a native English speaker.
You have done amazing things in terms of honoring great music, great comedy, Doonesbury, and free trade. All things I deeply love and respect as well. But I am sure you well know that free trade is not about protecting white male capitalist Americans. Free trade is about spreading the wealth, being fair, and making sure that people who work hard to make top notch products are not taken advantage of just because of where they were born, or the color of their skin. I know you believe in these things just as I do, and so I am asking you from the bottom of my heart to let us know how much you care.
The only way that things will change in our world in terms of fairness and equality is if all of us – writers, businesspeople, and ice cream tycoons alike – get on board with recognizing and honoring contributions made across all cross-sections of the population and making it more than just ok, but NORMAL, that the folks we have to admire, look up to and revere are as diverse as possible. You are culture makers – you are a force! You can be the ones who step up and make a difference in this area. Your flavor honorees can and should be as diverse as your flavors!
I eagerly await the public response to this open letter. I’ve gotten some private messages from your company on Twitter about a response, but I want that response to go public. This is, after all, a very public discussion. Millions of your very loyal customers (we all know women LOVE ice cream) are waiting to hear where you stand on this issue that is very near and dear to us, and more importantly effects our lives and the lives of our children and the people in our communities.
Don’t let me down!
Non-profit fundraiser, activist, and ice cream eater for over 30 years