Since April 2010, Ai-jen Poo has served as the director of National Domestic Workers Alliance, an alliance of domestic workers located in 11 states and 19 cities, which advocates for protection, recognition and respect for the 2.5 million domestic workers in the U.S. She is also the co-director of Caring Across Generations, a coalition of 200 advocacy groups that seeks to provide quality care and dignity for aging Americans, as well as their care-givers.
Poo’s father is a scientist and a one-time political activist who immigrated from Taiwan in the 1970s. It is from his the influence that she developed a strong sense of advocacy. In 1995, Poo was arrested for blocking the Manhattan bridge in protest of education budget cuts and police brutality. The following year, she assisted with organizing a strike at Columbia University that aimed to establish an ethnics studies department. In 2000 Poo helped start Domestic Workers United, an organization of nannies, housekeepers and elderly caregivers in New York organizing for power, respect, fair labor standards and to help build the social justice movement. That organization led the way to passage of the first Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in 2010, which extends basic labor protection to over 200,000 domestic workers in New York State.
Named in 2009 as one of Crain’s “40 Under 40″, Poo is a recipient of the Alston Bannerman Fellowship for Organizers of Color, the Twink Frey Visiting Scholar Fellowship at University of Michigan Center for the Education of Women, and the Prime Movers Fellowship. In 2010, Feminist Press recognized her in their “40 Under 40″ awards. In honor of the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day, Poo was recognized by Women Deliver as one of 100 women internationally who are “delivering” for other women. In 2011, she received Independent Sector’s American Express NGen Leadership Award. Poo’s work has also been profiled in multiple publications, including The Nation, Ms. Magazine, and The New York Times.