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Meet the Oakland Woman Behind Ben & Jerry’s Pecan Resist Artwork

"I think that all art is political. I think that art is always an expression of a human experience, and I very much believe that the arts are central to our society"

Ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's has taken a stand against what it calls the Trump administration's regressive policies by rebranding one of its flavors Pecan Resist with a help from an Oakland artist.

Favianna Rodriguez is the artist and activist behind the artwork on the new ice cream flavor that the company says celebrates activists who are resisting oppression, harmful environmental practices and injustice.

"I’m so proud that my art is on this pint! Pecan Resist will highlight four social justice groups focused on freedom, belonging, community, and justice. I’m so happy that some of my favorite organizations will be receiving some funds with the launch of this product," Rodriguez tweeted when the flavor was unveiled Tuesday in Washington ahead of the midterm elections. 

As part of the campaign, Ben & Jerry's is giving $25,000 each to four activist entities: Color of Change, Honor the Earth, Women's March and multi-media platform Neta.

The company said, "it cannot be silent in the face of policies that attack and attempt to roll back decades of progress on racial and gender equity, climate change, LGBTQ rights, and refugee and immigrant rights."

Rodriguez says she has always expressed herself artistically since she was young. Her parents migrated to the U.S. from Peru. She says she didn't see images of Latinas portrayed in the mass media when she grew up in the 80's, that's why she created the first Latino group at her high school and ran for student body office.

"I think that all art is political. I think that art is always an expression of a human experience, and I very much believe that the arts are central to our society. It took some time, but now I totally see that art and activism very much belong together. Why? Because culture precedes politics. People have to be able to imagine a different world before that world comes into being," Rodriguez said in a Q&A with Ben & Jerry's.

Oakland comedian W. Kamau Bell even tweeted at Rodriguez to congratulate her on the ice cream art, saying "The flavor is called #PecanResist! It supports social movement groups creating a more just & equitable nation & those who are fighting President Trump’s regressive agenda. & IT HAS PECANS!!!!"

Pecan Resist is chocolate ice cream with white and dark fudge chunks, pecans, walnuts and fudge-covered almonds.

Ben & Jerry's has previously launched ice cream flavors in support of social and political change. In 2015, Save Our Swirled debuted to bring awareness to climate change. That same year, the company changed the name of its Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream to I Dough, I Dough in celebration of the Supreme Court's decision to strike down states' ban on same-sex marriage.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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