Press Release: Inaugural Jen Angel Anarchist Media Grant Memorializes the Legacy of Oakland Baker and Social Justice Activist Killed Earlier This Year

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 15, 2023

Contact: Lilias Adie, Agency Program Coordinator
agent@anarchistagency.com

Inaugural Jen Angel Anarchist Media Grant Memorializes the Legacy of Oakland Baker and Social Justice Activist Killed Earlier This Year

In New Initiative, Agency Partners with Institute for Anarchist Studies to Make Anarchist Ideas Accessible Through Media-Focused Grants

WASHINGTON, DC — Agency, the anarchist public relations organization, announced the recipients of its new grant program today. The Jen Angel Anarchist Media Grant was launched this year in collaboration with the Institute for Anarchist Studies to support media projects that seek to advance awareness and understanding of anarchist principles and practices, and make them accessible to a broad audience. 

The four recipients of the inaugural Jen Angel Anarchist Media Grant are: 1) a four-part documentary film series, “The Elements of Mutual Aid;” 2) a feature-length documentary film, “Occupy Sandy: A Decade’s Retrospective on Mutual Aid;” 3) a Latin American podcast series, “Undoing Rigid Radicalism;” and 4) a forthcoming podcast project on the history of the San Francisco Bay Area group Lesbians and Gays Against Intervention.

The Jen Angel Anarchist Media Grant was created to honor Jen Angel, the social justice activist, baker, writer, and co-founder of Agency who died on February 9, 2023 as a result of an apparent robbery-assault in Oakland, California. Agency launched the grant program with an initial fund of $2,500 to award grants to select anarchist media projects in the United States and abroad. 

“Agency created the Jen Angel Anarchist Media Grant program to help fuel the types of projects that Jen created throughout her life–projects that reflect the spirit of grassroots and do-it-yourself action she worked so hard to sustain,” said Ryan Only, who co-founded Agency with Jen Angel in 2013. “The core tenets of anarchism that underscored Jen’s life and work—autonomy, mutual aid, voluntary association, direct action—are all amplified by the independent media projects funded by this grant program.”

Agency promotes contemporary anarchist perspectives and practices through commentary on current events, media relations, and educational campaigns. In addition to her work with Agency, Angel was known widely for her prolific activism, her long-standing contributions to independent media, and her role in establishing community institutions throughout her life. Jen Angel was called a “visionary” by Utne Reader and a “pioneering media activist” by Bitch magazine. Her writing appeared in publications such as Bitch, Yes!, Punk Planet, Upping the Anti, and In These Times. 

About Jen Angel and the Jen Angel Anarchist Media Grant

As a teenager, Angel created the zine Fucktooth. Later, she was an editor of Maximum Rocknroll, and was co-founder and publisher of Clamor magazine, an award-winning quarterly magazine covering radical culture and politics. She founded Aid & Abet, a publicity agency established to support progressive authors, filmmakers, activists, organizations, and social movements. Angel also helped organize the Underground Publishing Conference, which later became the Allied Media Conference. At the time of her death, she was a core organizer of the Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair and the proprietor of the Oakland, CA bakery Angel Cakes. To learn more about Jen Angel, go to: https://linktr.ee/LovedOnesOfJenAngel

Since Angel’s death, her life and the circumstances of her killing have been the subject of countless media stories, including a February 18 article in The Guardian. In multiple statements and interviews, Angel’s loved ones have expressed their commitment, in the event of arrests related to her death, to pursue all available alternatives to traditional prosecution, such as restorative justice, to reflect the values Angel believed in. Loved ones have repeatedly echoed that Angel opposed the use of public resources for policing, incarceration, and other forms of state violence. Her community has appealed profusely to the public and media to not perpetuate the cycles of violence that resulted in her death in the first place. As a result, her story has drawn considerable attention to public discourse around the need for radical change to the criminal legal system. 

“Jen Angel’s values live on in the fight against the unjust prison system, and through community-led mutual aid work being done all over the US,” said Payton McDonald, co-director of the film, “Elements of Mutual Aid”. “We’re deeply honored to take part in commemorating Jen Angel’s legacy through our film as a recipient of the inaugural Jen Angel Anarchist Media Grant program. Having Jen’s spirit with us makes this project feel even more potent. Grants that might seem like small amounts of money to some can make the difference between whether a project will succeed or fail. This was evident in Jen’s work over the years. She helped show us that grassroots efforts organized with minimal resources, put into the right hands, can have lasting impact. It’s incredibly fitting that this program now exists in Jen’s name.”

Alongside Agency, the grant program in Angel’s honor is co-hosted by the Institute for Anarchist Studies. Applications for the Jen Angel Anarchist Media Grant are accepted through the institute’s long-running grant program, which has supported hundreds of anarchist writing projects for over the past quarter-century.  In 2023, the Institute for Anarchist Studies awarded grants to three anarchist literature projects in addition to the media grants. The institute also publishes the Anarchist Interventions book series in collaboration with AK Press and Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, the print and online journal Perspectives on Anarchist Theory, the Lexicon pamphlet series, and an Anarchist Imaginations series of books in collaboration with AK Press.

The 2023 recipients of the Jen Angel Anarchist Media Grant awarded by Agency and the Institute for Anarchist Studies in its inaugural year, are as follows:

Elements of Mutual Aid

“Elements of Mutual Aid” is an independent, four-part docuseries, currently in production, that explores the origins, structures, healing work, and logistics of anti-authoritarian-driven mutual aid efforts across North America. Each chapter is based on one of the four elements—fire, earth, water, and air—and introduces a unique cast of grassroots activists that each work to address oppression and injustice in their communities.

Occupy Sandy: A Decade’s Retrospective on Mutual Aid

“Occupy Sandy: A Decade’s Retrospective on Mutual Aid” is a feature-length film documenting Occupy Sandy, an anarchist mutual aid disaster relief effort that delivered millions of dollars in relief to more than a dozen neighborhoods in New York and New Jersey and mobilized at least 60,000 volunteers in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Combining collective oral history practice and documentary film-making, the project explores how Occupy Sandy’s work embodies a prefigurative anarchist project. The filmmakers behind “Occupy Sandy” aim to educate the public as well as inspire for future efforts in non-hierarchical post-disaster mutual aid organizing.

Undoing Rigid Radicalism

“Undoing Rigid Radicalism” is a project based on the book “Joyful Militancy” by carla bergman and Nick Montgomery. Pamela Carmona and Alf Bojórquez created the Spanish-language podcast project to explore how concepts like paranoia, purity, guilt, and punishment affect social movements in Latin America and how to embody a ‘joyful militancy’ in the spirit of bergman and Montgomery’s influential book. 

Lesbians and Gays Against Intervention

The history of the San Francisco Bay Area-based collective known as Lesbians and Gays Against Intervention is the subject of a new seven-part podcast series utilizing archival testimonies, sound images, and new interviews with remaining members of the group that has fought for justice since the 1970s. The collective has focused organizing efforts on issues including the continuing housing crisis in the Bay Area. 

To learn more about the Jen Angel Anarchist Media Grant, go to: https://www.anarchistagency.com/jen-angel-anarchist-media-grant/ 

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Agency promotes contemporary anarchist perspectives and practices through commentary, media relations, and educational campaigns. For further information about Agency go to: www.anarchistagency.com

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