Ai-jen Poo is a next-generation labor leader, award-winning organizer, best-selling author, and the co-founder and Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, a non-profit organization working to bring dignity and fairness to the growing numbers of workers who care and clean in our homes. In 12 short years, NDWA has grown to more than 70 affiliate organizations and chapters and over 250,000 members.
Under Poo’s leadership, NDWA has led successful campaigns to pass Domestic Worker Bills of Rights in 10 states and two cities. These bills have extended common workplace rights and protections to domestic workers for the first time, including paid overtime, safe and healthy working conditions, and freedom from sexual harassment. Because there still are many states where domestic workers have very limited or nonexistent protections, Poo and dedicated workers and advocates are now working to pass the National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights to address the exclusions of the past and bring us closer to a future where all work is dignified work, and every last job in America is a good job.
Poo’s life-long fight to win protections for these workers, the majority of whom are immigrants and women of color, has never been more important than during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has only further exposed the disparities between those who provide care and those who receive it. One of the first labor activists to warn about the devastating impact of COVID-19, Poo has become a leading voice pushing federal, state, and local legislators to center domestic workers in ongoing recovery efforts. Under her leadership, the National Domestic Workers Alliance launched the Coronavirus Care Fund, raising $20 million in emergency assistance for domestic workers in need in just the first month.
In 2011, Poo launched Caring Across Generations, a campaign to address the nation’s crumbling care infrastructure, catalyzing groundbreaking policy change including the nation’s first family caregiver benefit in Hawaii and the first long-term care social insurance fund in Washington State. In 2015, she released her widely acclaimed book, "The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America," making the case for access to care for all families.
Poo is also a leading voice in the women’s movement. She’s a key architect of the evolving #MeToo movement, in collaboration with Tarana Burke, Fatima Goss Graves, and Monica Ramirez, including helping to launch #MeTooVoter to hold politicians accountable and the Survivors’ Agenda, a survivor-led initiative to advance justice and shift the narrative around sexual violence in America. In 2019, along with Ceclie Richards and Alicia Garza, Poo co-founded SuperMajority, a new home for women's activism dedicated to training and mobilizing a multiracial, intergenerational community to fight for gender equity together. She also serves as a Senior Advisor to Care in Action, a nonpartisan group dedicated to fighting for a civic voice for millions of women of color, particularly domestic workers in the United States.
Recognized among Fortune’s 50 World’s Greatest Leaders and Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, Poo has also been the recipient of countless awards, including a 2014 MacArthur "Genius" Grant. She has been a featured speaker at TEDWomen, Aspen Ideas Festival, Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Skoll World Forum, and the Obama Foundation Inaugural Summit. Her writing has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, TIME, Maire Claire, Glamour, Cosmopolitan and CNN.com, among others.
Thanks to Poo and her activism, states across the U.S. are continuing to improve working conditions and labor standards for domestic workers, and her leadership has helped inspire a vibrant, growing national movement of workers standing up for better treatment.
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