OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — Jen Angel, a beloved local bakery owner and social justice community activist, died on Thursday from injuries she suffered in a violent robbery, according to her close friends. She was 48.
Her friend, Emily Harris, told KRON4, “I’m devastated. Jen has been such a pillar of love and support, a person who brings so many people together in Oakland.”
A statement written by her friends on Thursday night stated, “It is 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 5:48 p.m.”
“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,” friends wrote.
On Monday, Angel was sitting inside her car behind a bank on Webster Street in Oakland when a thief broke into the car and grabbed her purse. The robber darted into a getaway vehicle that was waiting nearby, police said.
“The victim exited their vehicle and attempted to retrieve their stolen belongings from the individual. While the victim struggled for their belongings, they were knocked to the ground and sustained injuries,” the Oakland Police Department told KRON4.
Angel was dragged by the getaway car. The entire incident happened in broad daylight.
Angel was well known in the Bay Area as a champion of social justice. She was born in 1975 and raised in suburban Cleveland, Ohio.
She founded Angel Cakes in 2008 baking cupcakes, planning weddings, and catering events. In 2016, she opened Angel Cakes bakery on 5th Street inside the historic Gingerbread House.
“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,” said Angel’s friend, Tobias Smith.
She established a social justice event production organization called Aid and Abet. She was also the publisher of Clamor Magazine, a bi-monthly alternative magazine. She was “deeply involved in organizing work for media justice and building a better world,” her friends wrote.
Her friends, loved ones, and community have shown an outpouring of support since Monday. Within less than 48 hours of launching a GoFundMe, over $96,000 has been donated.
Oakland police said no arrests have been made in connection to the deadly robbery.
If a suspect is arrested by police, Angel’s family said she would not want her assailant to be prosecuted in criminal court. Angel did not believe in incarceration as an effective or just solution to social violence and inequity.
Her friends wrote that Angel would want “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. Do not use her legacy of care and community to further inflame narratives of fear, hatred, and vengeance, nor to advance putting public resources into policing, incarceration, or other state violence that perpetuates the cycles of violence that resulted in this tragedy.”