The co-founders of the ice cream giant Ben & Jerry’s were arrested on April 18 at a protest on Capitol Hill.
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were arrested alongside hundreds of other activists at a protest called Democracy Awakening.
U.S. Capitol police said that the protesters were arrested for “unlawful demonstration activities.”
According to the Democracy Awakening website the event was organized by 200 different groups to address voting rights and money in politics in American democracy.
“We share a firm belief that we will not win on the full range of policy issues we all care about until we combat attacks on voting rights and the integrity of the vote by big money,” the website says.
In separate statements Ben & Jerry said that they felt that in order to affect change they had to put their reputations and bodies on the line.
“The history of our country is that nothing happens,” said Ben, “until people start putting their bodies on the line and risk getting arrested.”
“At a certain point, you have to say enough is enough,” Jerry said in a Democracy Awakening statement. “I have decided to risk arrest because we can’t continue to have a political system where ordinary people are shut out of the process. It’s not what our founders envisioned, and it’s not what democracy is supposed to be about.”
The Ben & Jerry’s corporation has released a statement in support of its founders.
“It all comes down to a simple idea that we believe in whole-heartedly: if you care about something, you have to be willing to risk it all—your reputation, your values, your business—for the greater good,” the company said in a statement.
The company openly supports Bernie Sanders’ bid for the presidency, having released a flavor dedicated to the Independent Vermont Senator called Bernie’s Yearning.
The ice cream is a small disk of chocolate on top of a mass of vanilla and is supposed to represent the concentration of wealth in America.
“The way you eat it is you take your scoop and you whack it into a bunch of little pieces,” Cohan said. Then “you mix it around and put all of the money back to where it’s supposed to be.”