Sheneika Smith has announced her campaign for one of the three Asheville City Council seats to be voted on this fall.
Though the council is non-partisan, she has announced her affiliation as a Democrat.
A fourth-generation Asheville native, Sheneika Smith is the middle daughter of the late Rev. Theodore L. Smith and the late Missionary Beverly Wells Smith. She was educated in the Asheville City School system and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass Communication from Winston-Salem State University.
After 12 years in Winston-Salem, she moved to Charlotte, NC, where she worked in a mental health treatment facility with at-risk adolescents. In 2011, Smith returned to Asheville, where she has been working to support the preservation of the African American interests and quality of life in the city.
Smith is best known for spearheading Date My City, a social organization that seeks to enhance the cultural identity of black communities in western North Carolina. Date My City fosters social cohesion, increases civic participation, and ignites pride through unity and self-determination. She is also the Tzedek Social Justice Fellow at Green Opportunities and a board member of the Center for Participatory Change.
Smith notes that while Asheville is deservedly praised for its eccentricity, hospitality, and mountain beauty, the city continues to fail to address concentrated poverty, gentrification, and poor housing stock for minorities. She believes that using “intersectionality”—a theory of how oppression works—as a lens can allow the city to conceptualize innovative strategies that can interact across multiple issues. In the context of policy-making, intersectionality is a guide to eradicate ethical bias, racial separatism, and a top-down economy.
Through her council campaign, Smith, the mother of two daughters, hopes to lead a city-wide movement towards social justice, equity, and economic mobility.
Sheneika Smith can be contacted at email@example.com or at sheneikaforasheville.com.