Chocolate event explores cocoa industry slavery

Chocolate event explores cocoa industry slavery
October 1, 2019

Students walking by Cross Campus on Friday afternoon were greeted by free chocolate — handed out by Tony’s Chocolonely to promote the company’s mission of 100 percent slave-free chocolate worldwide.

The MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition and the Human Rights Journal co-hosted a day of events with the chocolate company. Friday’s program was part of a series of campus events that will be held this semester to reflect on the year 1619, when the first enslaved Africans were sent to the coast of Virginia.

In an evening presentation from Tony’s Chocolonely U.S. Marketing Manager Dena White, White explained that the company aims to bring awareness to the plight of the more than 2 million people still enslaved to produce chocolate. The red and blue Tony’s van, parked on Cross Campus on Friday, served quite literally as “a vehicle to tell the story,” White said. The truck is travelling across the U.S., giving free samples to communities and sharing the realities of the cocoa industry.

“Things aren’t being shared evenly in the chocolate supply chain,” reads the mission statement on the Tony’s Chocolonely website. “The chain starts with millions of farmers who produce cocoa and ends with the billions of consumers who enjoy chocolate. But what about the bit in between?”

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