When Shanaè Joyce-Stringer was a little girl growing up in south Florida she watched her grandparents, former restaurant owners, never turn away a hungry customer no matter how much money was in their pockets.
Stringer says the humility she saw in her family was what inspired her to devote her life to giving back to her community, too. She adds that she has piled her plate high with a myriad of ways she gives back. This jack of all trades is a longtime educator, life coach, author, entrepreneur, evangelist and, if elected, would be Eugene’s first Black mayor.
Stringer moved to Eugene in 2021 after working in education for 15 years as a teacher and leader of a variety of after school programs as well as Parent Teacher Associations and teaching mentorship initiatives. Stringer interviewed for a job as a program coordinator for Lane Education Service District, and moved to Eugene eight days later.
In addition to working in education, Stringer has owned and managed her own event planning business, B.L.A.Q. Events, for 12 years as well as a Christian-rooted life coaching business, Shanaè Joyce-Stringer Enterprise. Stringer says that her experience as a business owner over the last decade allows her to have a better understanding in knowing what a small business needs to thrive. If elected mayor, she says that she wants to support small businesses by providing workshops for business development and expansion.
She says she was drawn to Eugene for its “small town feel” and “close-knit community.”
“One of the first public events I attended in Eugene was Juneteenth, and it was honestly the first Juneteenth I had ever experienced,” Stringer says. “And just seeing how the community really showed up for this historic moment and celebrated. I could tell people were just really connected to their community here.”
Equity and inclusion are key components in Stringer’s grassroots campaign. She says, “Eugene is growing and becoming more diverse, and I believe that needs to be reflected in its decisions and how we operate.”
Stringer says she believes that there are a variety of ways that Eugene can be more equitable in serving every type of population, starting with increasing investment in access to mental health and addiction services, especially in the wake of Eugene’s only hospital closing. She says, “I’d love to see some more comprehensive centers that are equipped to address both mental health and addiction, providing specialized care to individuals.”
In Lane County more than 3,000 people are experiencing homelessness, according to the 2023 Point in Time (PIT) count conducted by trained outreach workers in January. Stringer says one of the ways she can fulfill her mission of equity and inclusion is by providing funding for low-income housing that is “truly low-income” and “accessible to all.”
As an educator for 15 years in Florida and two years in Eugene, Stringer is passionate about creating a stronger partnership between local school districts and the city to help address Eugene’s youth homeless problem. She wants to emphasize community awareness of the needs of youth in Eugene. “I want to see an expansion of the public library, and other local art and entertainment facilities,” she says. “Community-based organizations increase opportunities for our youth and expose them to different art mediums.”
According to the Oregon Secretary of State’s Orestar database, Stringer has raised about $1,800 in campaign contributions. The city of Eugene Elections office lists Stringer and Douglas Barr as prospective filers for the May primary and architect Kaarin Knudson as having completed her filing and turned in the required signatures for the nonpartisan position. Candidates have until 5 pm, March 6 to get 25 certified signatures.
The final component of Stringer’s campaign is environmental justice, which she believes also falls under her goal of making Eugene a more equitable city. She says, “The significant impact of environmental justice is heavily weighed on those who are socially, socio economically disadvantaged in our community.”