Jacqueline Slaby / by Michael Falco

Who is Jacqueline Slaby? 

Jacqueline Slaby was born in Battle Creek, Michigan and attended Battle Creek public schools. They graduated from Bryn Mawr College and received a Master's degree in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016.  After finishing their master's program, Jacqueline went back to work for the city of Battle Creek, crediting a strong desire to give back to their hometown. In November of 2016, Jacqueline was elected to the School Board for Battle Creek Public Schools for a 6-year term, and is a Board Member for Voces, a nonprofit organization in Battle Creek. Currently, Jacqueline works for Temple University Rome's student life and is a freelance cartographer & graphic/web designer. The decision to work abroad was borne out of the commitment to unearthing their family's history of assimilating into 'whiteness' and developing a plan to permanently return to their ancestors' indigenous lands of Europe. Jacqueline was interested in getting involved in the Facing Whiteness project to contribute to the visibility of white folx seeking an alternative antiracist path to inform their identity and work in solidarity with people of color in POC-led and centered movements. Today, Jacqueline looks forward to challenging their relationship to work and competition as a white person by prioritizing collaboration and healthy relationships with life-based organisms - other humans, animals, and plants, thus their hobbies include cooking for gatherings, tree gazing, and knitting.  

Excerpt from interview with Jacqueline Slaby by Whitney Dow, 2017

Q: What brought you to your anti-racism work? What is it about your background, your upbringing, your experiences that makes that a priority in your life?

Slaby: [11:43:43] I have been asked that question. I have reflected a lot on that lately because I’m going to be doing the Doing Our Own Work Series with KCC [Kellogg Community College] soon, which we delve more in to anti-racism. And I think that it’s kind of hard to find a root. I don’t have one huge moment that made that click for me. Also, with my family, they’re not the most liberal, most, you know leftist family, so, they probably lean more towards the right, the right if anything. I’m the only child so I think for me I was able to kind of create my own avenue in terms of what I wanted to do. I didn’t have any siblings that were taking me in another direction based on their interests if they were older than me, or holding back because I had a younger sibling that wanted to do something else and I couldn’t do what I want to do. So my parents were very liberal in the sense of letting me do what I wanted to do. I was able to go to Washington, D.C. when I was in sixth grade. I was able to go to New York for a theater since seventh grade up until I graduated. And then we had the means to be able to provide me access to a lot of resources.

I think through that, and through the environment that I went to school in, which was, you know, a wide mix of white, black, Hispanlatinx, and Burmese, I was surrounded by a lot of diversity. I was exposed to different experiences. And then, leaving the Midwest, going to college, just opened a lot more in terms of different experiences, other than just this Midwest culture. So a lot more immigrants beyond Burmese refugees, and then just doing the classes that are offered at Bryn Mawr and Penn really helps you think about those kind of things, so.