Antanette Mosley is the newest member of Asheville City Council. As decided by Council’s six current members during a Sept. 8 vote, the attorney for Atlanta-based firm Alston and Bird will fill the seat vacated by Vijay Kapoor until 2022.
Sheneika Smith nominated Mosley for the role, despite her not being a “household name” like several of the other finalists. “I think she’ll bring a lot of valuable perspective to our deliberations, based on her lived experience as a fifth-generation native and her career experience as a successful Black female attorney,” Smith said.
Smith’s nomination was backed by Mayor Esther Manheimer, as well as Council members Gwen Wisler and Julie Mayfield. Brian Haynes and Keith Young both voted for Robert Thomas, the community liaison to Asheville’s Racial Justice Coalition and an outspoken supporter of community reparations for the city’s Black residents.
In her application for Council, Mosley stated that she would “firmly embrace investments” backed by local advocacy group Black AVL Demands, including supporting Black start-ups, eliminating the racial opportunity gap in schools and funding an all-civilian oversight committee to hold the Asheville Police Department accountable.
“Fundamentally stated, Asheville cannot and will not become a truly equitable and diverse society until intentional investment in the Black community occurs,” Mosley wrote. “Given the long history of oppression, each and every policymaking undertaking must have an eye toward the advancement of the Black community.”
Mosley’s appointment to serve alongside Smith and Young means the seven-person Council will have three Black members for the first time; as of 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated Asheville’s population to be 11.7% Black. She will be sworn in at Council’s next meeting of Tuesday, Sept. 22.