Photo by Ana Venture. Jacket customized by Jennifer Li.
Jennifer Li is originally from Chinatown, New York. Her parents are first-generation immigrants who own and operate a mom-and-pop butcher shop, 47 Division St Trading. She grew up working at the store, from restocking cold drinks in the fridge when she was 5, to cashiering the registers and handling meat at 12, to doing the book keeping in high school and college. The store is still there to this day.
She is the inaugural Executive Director of the Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council. When anti-Asian violence came to a head in Oakland’s Chinatown in 2021, she joined multiple patrol groups. She organized a rally in April 2021 of almost a thousand people through the streets of Oakland Chinatown that was covered in a short documentary by NBC.
Before becoming the Executive Director of the Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council, Jennifer was the Legislative Aide to San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen, where she advocated for the Chinese merchants of the Portola, facilitated cross-cultural dialogue between Mission nonprofits and low-income monolingual Chinese elders at food banks, and helped secure more than $40 million in funding for a local school in dire need of structural updates.
Jennifer has also worked in the labor movement for more than a decade as a communications strategist. She has passed five sexual assault survivor bill of rights (Federal, California, 2 New York laws, and a Pennsylvania), granting more than 42 million survivors civil like access to our police reports, rape kit retention, and more.
In 2014, she led a successful global campaign to get a racist and sexist pick-up artist’s Visa denied in 6 countries and kicked out of 10 venue in less than a month. It was covered by Time Magazine, New York Times, CNN, and more.
She is known to be handy with a bullhorn, but her voice spills over into her artwork and personal style as well. Her artwork on social issues has gone viral many times, and has been featured in various publications and museums. Her unique style is instantly recognizable to those who know her, from protest signs to her colorful hair. Her apartment’s funky style has also been featured on Apartment Therapy. Check out the tour here.