By Sarah Holtz, May 8, 2023
On Sunday, over 550 people hailing from places across the country came together at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland to celebrate the life of Jen Angel. During her 48 years, Angel was many things to many people: a baker, an activist, a publisher, a partner, a friend who brought people together. But her life was cut short by a brutal robbery in Downtown Oakland this past February.
In the days and weeks following her death, Angel’s community made clear its resolve to embody her values. Angel was a strong advocate of restorative justice—a worldview that seeks to upend traditional American ideologies about the punishment individuals convicted of a crime deserve by prioritizing reconciliation, rehabilitation and healing over incarceration and disenfranchisement. A statement announcing Angel’s death said that if an arrest was made, her family was “committed to pursuing all available alternatives to traditional prosecution.”
Both locally and on a national level, Angel’s life and death have brought forth difficult questions around what justice means when a senseless tragedy strikes, as well as the hope that can be derived from it.