Interview with Ai-Jen Poo

Ai-Jen Poo has been organizing with domestic workers for over 15 years, helping in New York to win some of the first statewide labor protections for occupations often exempt from labor laws, and expanding this campaign to a nationwide vision for a strong caregiving workforce and infrastructure for elder care.

In 2014 she became a MacArthur Fellow, but this was hardly her first award. This visionary leader has, to name just a few, received the Open Society Institute Community Fellowship, the Ernest de Maio Award from the Labor Research Association, the Woman of Vision Award from Ms. Foundation for Women, the Alston Bannerman Fellowship for Organizers of Color, and the Twink Frey Visiting Scholar Fellowship at University of Michigan Center for the Education of Women.

In 2012, she was listed as one of the Time magazine Time 100, and one of Newsweek’s “150 Women Who Shake the World.” We caught up with Poo by phone on a Saturday while her children played in the background to talk about her work and how the community development world might connect with it.