Jacquelyn Cheryl Williams
April 5, 1953 – August 22, 2023
First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany
Born April 5, 1953 in Detroit, Michigan to John Williams, Jr. and Clara Sangster Williams, Jacqui C. Williams died in the presence of friends on August 22, 2023. Unafraid to speak publicly against bigotry, and to question injustice, she dedicated her life to combating racism as an educator, trainer and community activist. Her passion to end racism and discrimination and to bring equity for People of Color included leadership in local and national organizations, including Black Lives Matter, CAAMI (Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration) and local protests against police brutality.
Jacqui attended Emma Willard School in Troy, New York, and Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Before settling in Albany, New York, she made her home in Glens Falls. For most of her professional life, Jacqui worked in the sexual violence prevention field, as Director of Policy and Education at the NYS Coalition Against Sexual Assault and later as Director of Outreach and Training at the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services Office of Sex Offender Management. She created JC3 Consulting, through which she provided training focused on sexual violence and its connection to other oppressions.
Jacqui was an active member of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany where she delivered periodic sermons and served on the Inclusivity, Social Justice and Green Sanctuary Teams. Her footprint in the national Unitarian Universalist movement was noteworthy; she served on the Presidential Search Committee, the General Assembly Planning Committee, the Commission on Appraisal, and facilitated Beyond Categorical Thinking for over 22 years. Jacqui was a member of the Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU) community and an active member of DRUUMM (Diverse and Revolutionary UU Multicultural Ministries) for many years; there she served on the Steering Committee as Communications Coordinator in 2010 and as Co-President 2011-2013. One of Jacqui’s passions was FIGAH (Filling in the Gaps in American History). She created this project in which she researched contributions of African Americans whose stories were left out of history books, and presented to communities the information and resources she had documented.
Jacqui was particularly proud of being honored in 2013 when she received the Capital District YMCA Black and Latino Leadership Award, and in 2014 when she received the DRUUMM Melvin A. Hoover Beloved Community Award. Another proud moment for Jacqui was in 2016 when she was interviewed for the film “Indefensible: The Wrongful Prosecution of the UAlbany Three.” Having challenged and inspired many, Jacqui indeed leaves a rich legacy of activism. Her absence is deeply felt. She is survived by her son David G. Williams, grandson Evan T. Febres, granddaughter LaShawna Williams and great-grandson Emani Febres. In addition to her brothers John A. and Keith K. Williams, she is survived by half-siblings, nieces, nephews, and cousins. A memorial service to celebrate her life was held at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany, on October 28, 2023.
Donations in her memory may be made to the Underground Railroad Education Center, 194 Livingston Avenue, Albany, NY, 12210, or online at https://undergroundrailroadhistory.org/donate/