November 2004: The daughter of a Unitarian minister in Birmingham, Michigan, Joy Marshall grew up walking picket lines. “By age 6 or 7, I was aware of social issues,” she recalls. “Civil rights, women’s rights and farm-worker issues.” After college at the University of Michigan, Marshall spent three years teaching middle school in Chicago, which she calls “the hardest job in the world!” Only later, when she was waiting tables, did she find her calling. “God sent me a labor organizer, Barbara Lewis,” she explains. “I found what I was meant to do: fight for economic justice.” Her first paid political work was Mayor Harold Washington’s re-election campaign. Marshall spent three years with Citizen Action/Illinois in Chicago, then moved to Eugene in 1990 and worked three years with Oregon Fair Share before taking a break to care for daughters Maggie and Claire. “I still worked part-time on campaigns,” she notes. “Raising the minimum wage in ’96 was the proudest moment of my life.” Marshall returned to full-time work in 2001, and now serves as director of Oregon Stand for Children (stand.org), credited with successful school-funding campaigns in Eugene and Portland this year.
2018 update: Marshall is Lane County director of Stand for Children. “The main thing I’m working on is raising high school graduation rates by providing career and technical education,” she says. “Kids who take those classes graduate 15 points higher.” Stand for Children was the principal sponsor of Oregon Ballot Measure 98 — expanding career technical education, college-level education opportunities and dropout-prevention strategies in schools — that was approved by two-thirds of voters in 2016. “Our guiding principle is always serving the kids,” Marshall says, “giving them concrete skills to get a job out of high school, or helping them see possibilities.”