On Monday, prominent Bernie Sanders supporters Ben & Jerry, co-founders of the eponymous ice cream brand, were arrested at the Capitol while demonstrating for voting and campaign reforms. They were just two of more than 1,000 demonstrators who according to police have been arrested in the past several days. Most had been charged with unlawful crowding and obstruction.
The group organizing the protests, Democracy Awakening, is calling on Congress to vote on bills to reform campaign finance laws, modernize voters registration and consider President Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court.
In a post on their website, Ben and Jerry have explained their arrest saying that "the history of our country is that nothing happens, until people start putting their bodies on the line and risk getting arrested," co-founder Ben Cohen said before getting arrested, according to a post on the company's website.
The post said that the two co-founders, Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, haven't been "shy about taking a stand on issues that we care about, even when they're controversial." The post said that the co-founders' actions Monday came down to a "simple idea."
"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 post on Ben & Jerry's website said the protests are just a start to make sure the peoples' voices are heard.
When "something really matters, you have to put your body on the line," the post said, adding that "you have to take a stand."
They appealed to reducing the power of campaign finance: "Democracy belongs in the hands of all Americans, not in the pockets of a few billionaires," the post said.
"And no citizen who wants to vote should ever be kept from the polls. Democracy Awakening inspired hope and created excitement that all participants will carry back home with them to their own communities."
Here is the post from their website:
Why Ben and Jerry Just Got Arrested
Earlier today, our cofounders, Jerry Greenfield and Ben Cohen, along with hundreds of other activists, were arrested as part of Democracy Awakening’s direct action on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building.
JUST BEFORE THEY WERE ARRESTED
We spoke to them just before it happened. “The history of our country is that nothing happens,” said Ben, “until people start putting their bodies on the line and risk getting arrested.”
NOT SHY ABOUT TAKING A STAND
Of course, over the years Ben & Jerry’s hasn’t been shy about taking a stand on issues that we care about, even when they’re controversial. You could say that our passion for social justice has been baked right into everything we’ve ever done. We launched Save Our Swirled last year to bring awareness to climate change. In honor of the Supreme Court’s decision last summer to recognize the right of all couples to marry, we changed the name of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough to I Dough, I Dough.
ONE SIMPLE IDEA BEHIND IT ALL
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.
Protesting injustice has been on the agenda all weekend. We’ve been in Washington, D.C. with Democracy Awakening, a remarkable event that brought together hundreds of groups and thousands of people in an effort to fix our broken democracy. There are two trends that everyone from Greenpeace to the NAACP has realized are making it impossible for much good work to get done. The first is the flood of unregulated cash flowing into campaigns and elections. And the second is the wave of attacks in many states on citizens’ right to vote.
THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF SOMETHING BIG
Democracy Awakening is just the beginning of a movement to ensure that every citizen’s voice is heard and that power in this country is returned to the people.
SO WHY GET ARRESTED?
But Jerry and Ben and hundreds of others felt that they had to do something more, once the marches and the speeches came to an end. As Ben said, there’s
a powerful legacy of direct action in this country. From mass protests like the March on Washington and 2014’s People’s Climate March in NYC, to incredibly powerful if quieter and more personal actions like the 1960 Woolworth sit-ins started by four African-American students in Greensboro, NC, or the protest against Shell Oil’s plan to drill in the arctic by kayakers in Seattle.
Sometimes, when something really matters, you have to put your body on the line. You have to take a stand.
EVERYONE HAS A ROLE TO PLAY
We all have a role to play in the fight for justice. Join us this year as we spread the word and take action. Democracy belongs in the hands of all Americans, not in the pockets of a few billionaires. And no citizen who wants to vote should ever be kept from the polls. Democracy Awakening inspired hope and created excitement that all participants will carry back home with them to their own communities.
This is how real change happens.