Filed under: Anarchist Movement, Announcement, Pacific
Anarchist Agency reports on the passing of long-time anarchist Jen Angel, as community members, family, and friends rally in support.
It’s with a heavy heart that we announce that Oakland baker, small business owner, social justice activist, and community member Jen Angel has been medically declared to have lost all brain function and will not regain consciousness. Her official time of death was 5:48pm (PT).
Friends and family of Jen hope that the story of this last chapter of her brilliant, full, dynamic life is one focused on her commitment to community, on the care bestowed upon her and her family by the people who loved her, and on the generous and courageous role of countless health care workers and public servants who fought to preserve her life. We know Jen would not want to continue the cycle of harm by bringing state-sanctioned violence to those involved in her death or to other members of Oakland’s community.
As a long-time social movement activist and anarchist, Jen did not believe in state violence, carceral punishment, or incarceration as an effective or just solution to social violence and inequity. The outpouring of support and care for Jen, her family and friends, and the values she held dear is a resounding demonstration of the response to harm that Jen believed in: community members relying on one another, leading with love, centering the needs of the most vulnerable, and not resorting to vengeance and inflicting more harm.
Jen believed in a world where everyone can live a dignified and joyful life and worked toward an ecologically sustainable and deeply participatory society in which all people have access to the things they need, decisions are made by those most directly affected by them, and all people are free and equal.
Angel Cakes, the popular community-based bakery that Jen founded in 2008, will remain open, supported by Jen’s estate, and staffed by the talented team that Jen built. Community members who wish to support the bakery can especially help through buying gift certificates and committing to long-term patronage.
Per Jen’s wishes, her organs will be donated, and her committed medical team has informed the family that those organs will serve to lengthen and improve the lives of up to 70 people.
If the Oakland Police Department does make an arrest in this case, the family is committed to pursuing all available alternatives to traditional prosecution, such as restorative justice. Jen’s family and close friends ask that the media respect this request and carry forward the story of her life with celebration and clarity about the world she aimed to build. Jen’s family and friends ask that stories referencing Jen’s life do not use her legacy of care and community to further inflame narratives of fear, hatred, and vengeance. We do not support putting public resources into policing, incarceration, or other state violence that perpetuates the cycle of violence that resulted in this tragedy.
We wish for Jen’s legacy to be one of deep commitment to safety and dignity for everyone.
Jen’s enormous community of friends and loved ones have shown an outpouring of support since Monday. Within less than 24 hours of the set-up of a GoFundMe fundraising page, Jen’s extensive community of friends and loved ones has already raised over $88,000 to support her family, community, and continuation of her business. Those who wish to donate to the effort can do so here. Angel Cakes remains open for business and is taking orders here. Buying gift cards for future use is the best way to keep this community institution afloat at this time.
Angel, 48, founded Angel Cakes in 2008, baking cupcakes, planning weddings and catering events for the bay area community. In 2016, Angel Cakes opened a storefront bakery at 745 5th Street in Oakland, located in the historic Gingerbread House, a long-time Oakland staple restaurant that served the neighborhood from the 1970s until 2007.
Jen Angel was born in 1975 and raised in suburban Cleveland, Ohio. Jen is a long-time activist and organizer for social justice. Prior to starting Angel Cakes, Jen founded the social justice event production organization Aid and Abet. Jen was the co-founder and publisher of Clamor Magazine, a bi-monthly alternative magazine published from 1999 to 2006. Jen published a pamphlet about Clamor, geared toward strengthening progressive media institutions, called Becoming the Media: A Critical History of Clamor Magazine (PM Press 2008). She remains deeply involved in organizing work for media justice and building a better world.
A group of dear and trusted friends of Jen are working under the name Family and Friends of Jen Angel to organize support and make important decisions during this difficult time. The group respectfully requests space and discretion.
Quotes from Family and Friends
“Jen makes cupcakes, and Jen makes community. Often those intersect, in her life and in the lives of those who know and love her. Jen has worked hard to build a small business in Oakland, and to do so in a way that treats her employees as full humans, including providing a living wage. She paid herself last. She gave away cupcakes to community groups wherever she went. Jen was at the bakery every day. She taught herself how to decorate cakes. On Friday nights she would invite friends to hang out with her while she worked late and decorated wedding cakes,” says Tobias Smith, friend of Jen Angel.
“Jen cultivates community everywhere she goes. Her cupcakes, her organizing work, and every other element of her life have always been an invitation into the beautiful world she hopes to build, where everyone is valued, cared for, and celebrated,” says Pete Woiwode, friend of Jen Angel.
“All of us who know Jen are touched to see the way her community is responding. Most of the people in Oakland who experience the type of violence Jen experienced are young Black and Brown people who do not receive the level of focus, attention, or support that Jen has. Jen and those of us who love her want a world where everyone who experiences harm gets to experience support and healing, and people who cause harm are supported to have what they need to change instead of getting locked away,” says Emily Harris, friend of Jen Angel and Co-Director of Programs at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.
“Over the last 30 years, Jen Angel has been a visionary influence and pioneering participant within multiple movements and sub-cultures that have significantly informed and shaped our world in the here and now, from punk rock and anarchism in the 1990’s, through the Global Justice and anti-war movements of the early 2000’s to Occupy in 2011 and contemporary fights for racial justice, climate justice, economic justice and beyond,” says Ryan Fletcher, friend of Jen Angel.
For all media requests of Family and Friends of Jen Angel, please fill out the form at http://bit.ly/jenangelpress