Growing up, Kacey’s parents moved around a lot, but she spent most of her childhood in Knoxville, TN and would spend her days (even the rainy ones) playing outside, singing to the birds and dreaming about a better world.
Everywhere Kacey looked, there were yellow ribbons hanging up for the soldiers in Desert Storm, but Kacey knew we could do better, and even wrote a letter to the President offering advice about how to do it, but got nothing but a postcard back. Things are certainly a lot more complicated than she could have imagined as a child, but Kacey still dreams of creating a better world.
When Kacey’s parents split at the beginning of sixth grade her mom moved Kacey and her two younger brothers back to her mom’s home state of Virginia. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses, Kacey grew up extremely poor, and her mom worked hard to try to make ends meet. Kacey took on responsibility at a young age often caring for her brothers.
Since money was always scarce, Kacey was forced to grow up fast. She had her first job at 15 and continued to work for several years after high school before going to college in pursuit of a degree in Political Science at Virginia State University.
Kacey got into a few other schools but chose VSU because it’s tuition was lower than the more popular VCU and it was closer to where she lived. At the HBCU Kacey learned more than she ever expected, that “white privilege” means a lot more than whether you grew up with money or not and the color of your skin. A person could be disregarded just because of their background. The reality of this misconception changed her forever.
At the time, Kacey was on the path to becoming a lawyer. Instead, disgusted by our criminal justice system, Kacey moved toward working on livability projects after discovering how zoning laws have a negative impact on low income communities and people of color, especially in regard to their health. From food deserts to unsafe streets, there were lots of problems to solve, and one answer was sustainability. After graduating with a degree in Political Science in 2012, Kacey moved to Eugene, Oregon to pursue a graduate degree in Sustainability at the University of Oregon there she learned and worked on multiple sustainability projects. From community gardens to public transit, these are real solutions to helping all people live a better life. Kacey has been hard at work since 2010, researching and coming up with solutions. Last year in partnership with Walk Bike Nashville, Kacey worked on her best project yet. A mural designed to calm traffic near an elementary school where cars have been recorded going as fast as 74 mph in front of the school.
Since moving back to Tennessee, Kacey has been working with Walk Bike Nashville and other nonprofits doing freelance work and short term projects and driving for Lyft to make ends meet. Having lived in many places, it is clear that Tennesseans face many of the same challenges others face around the nation and she’s ready to shake things up in Washington.