The Guardian, “‘Unsung hero’: the baker and activist whose death inspired calls for restorative justice”

After Jen Angel’s shocking death, loved ones honor her legacy of punk zines, gourmet dinner nights and social justice projects

By Sam Levin, February 18, 2023

Jen Angel, a beloved Oakland baker and longtime activist, was in the parking lot of a bank on 6 February when she was robbed and then critically injured by the fleeing vehicle. The 48-year-old died three days later.

As word spread, Angel’s friends and loved ones did exactly what she would’ve done for them – they started organizing. They fundraised first for medical costs and then expenses related to her death, created spreadsheets to coordinate tasks, and formed a plan to ensure her bakery, Angel Cakes, would stay open and employees would be cared for. It was the kind of mutual aid and collective action she’d championed as a social justice advocate and anarchist. And as reporters began reaching out, her friends wrote a statement imploring them not to exploit her story:

“Jen’s values call for pursuing all available alternatives to traditional prosecution, such as restorative justice … Please do not use Jen’s life legacy of care and community to further inflame narratives of fear, hatred and vengeance. Jen would not want to advance putting public resources into policing, incarceration, or other state violence that perpetuates the cycles of violence that resulted in this tragedy.”

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