Democrats in Action!
Meet Joyce White
As a little girl, she heard from all those around that Franco Delano Roosevelt was holding the country together and showed unwavering care for the common man. Before Joyce was six years old, she learned there was a difference between the “haves” and the “have nots”. Her mother became gravely ill and died because she could not afford healthcare. In contrast, a friend’s mother who became ill at the same time returned home to her family because she could afford hospital care. Not an easy lesson for a young child and it’s one she’s never forgotten.
Joyce moved from family to family member. Some were churchgoers, some were rascals, but all of her family had a deep respect for equality and never put any one down for being or looking different. She is thankful she was raised without prejudice and to honor Democratic ideals.
When Joyce was 15, she was hired to work addressing envelopes in a campaign for Lyndon Baines Johnson because she had nice handwriting. That was the beginning of a lifelong effort of working to help Democrats get elected.
Joyce went to the University of Texas and received her Bachelor’s degree in three years. After another year, she had her Master’s. Even though she worked at least 30 hours a week while attending school, she became a Young Democrat. She worked on local campaigns, protested state legislature’s attempt to get involved in running UT, and spent many hours assembling packets and handing them out to help elect one of her heroes, Adlai Stevenson.
She moved to Houston with Tommy White when they married in 1956. Joyce taught school and Tommy was a union lawyer who believed if a corporation took good care of itself, it should take good care of its employees. Joyce and Tommy were Democratic activists, protecting the rights of workers, fighting for civil rights, and working in campaigns and elections. From those days, she is most proud of her work to help Barbara Jordan secure her seat in the Texas Senate. Joyce walked the Fifth Ward with Barbara, registering voters and helping people understand why their voted counted. Many had never voted due to a poll tax that was ultimately declared unconstitutional in 1966.
Tommy and Joyce left Houston in 1971 to return to their hometown of Bartlett. She taught school in Granger from then until the late 1990’s. Joyce doesn’t remember Williamson County having a Democratic office in those days, but she did everything she could to turn out the vote for Democrats. Those that know her say she never missed an opportunity to tell folks why it was important to vote and why voting Democratic was in their best interest.
During the early 2000’s, Joyce and her family made several trips a week to Round Rock so Tommy could receive dialysis. In 2004, they passed the WCDP office and immediately pulled over. Joyce walked in and announced, “We’ve been looking for Democrats. What can I do to help?”
Most people know Joyce now from her work with Food For Friends. She and her late friend, Nellie Saage, co-founded the non-profit Food For Friends in 2007 when they realized there were many members in their community who could use a warm meal. The program has grown from serving seven meals every Friday to 150 today. Food For Friends has now served more than 30,000 meals since it opened.
Joyce lives and breathes Democratic values. Her deeds reflect her values of taking care of those around her in need. She has touched many lives and is beloved in her community. Volunteerism is the backbone of the Democratic Party, and Joyce exemplifies how personal involvement makes a difference.
As a child and to this day, she believes that true Democrats are genuinely good people who take care of people. That’s exactly how Joyce has lived her life: As a Democrat.
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