Sweet baby Jesus, politics are generally unbearable these days.
Fortunately, they can be made a little sweeter when ice cream and a worthy cause are involved.
Vermont-based premium ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s (which you've likely consumed heaps of in your lifetime), is hitting the road in Florida in support of Amendment 4, also known as the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative.
In case you’ve been living under a non-political rock, a yes on Amendment 4 means the reinstatement of voting rights for folks with prior felony convictions upon completion of their sentence. The amendment does not apply to convicted murderers or felony sex offenders.
Florida is one of only four states with a lifetime ban on voting for convicted felons. 1.4 million people in Florida are permanently excluded from voting because of a prior felony conviction, and due to the racial inequities inherent in the criminal justice system, that means almost a quarter of African American Floridians are disenfranchised from voting.
Now, Ben & Jerry's has partnered with Floridians for a Fair Democracy and the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition to inform prospective voters about the proposed amendment. After rolling through Miami over the past two days, the Yes on 4 Truck Tour will make eight stops throughout Broward and Palm Beach counties starting today through Sunday, October 28. And of course, there will be free ice cream.
As for why Ben & Jerry’s is doing this? According to a press release, the company “believes in second chances.” And it’s not the first time Ben & Jerry’s has advocated for this type of cause. In 2016, the company called on Vermont residents to “ban the box” (a checkbox on job application forms) indicating whether or not someone has been convicted of a felony. Criminal justice advocates have long held that the checkbox places an unjust burden on members of society who have already served time for their past crimes.
So, where can you get your free ice cream? Here's the scoop (pun obviously intended):
Wednesday, Oct. 24
Hollywood Branch Library, 2600 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood, 9 a.m. to noon
Atlantic Meat Market, 2243 Sims St., Hollywood, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 25
Ivory's Restaurant, 2270 NW Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale, 9 a.m. to noon
Lincoln Park, 600 NW 19th Ave., Fort Lauderdale, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Vincent Torres Park, 4331 NW 36th St., Lauderdale Lakes, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 27
Wells Recreation Center, 2409 Ave. H West, Riviera Beach, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Belle Glade Branch Library, 725 NW Fourth St., Belle Glade, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 28
Ezell Hester Park, 1901 N. Seacrest Blvd. (Pavilion 3), Boynton Beach, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.