courtesy of Mosaic Magazine

LaWana Mayfield, a Democrat, represents District 3 on Charlotte City Council. She was elected in 2011 and is serving her first term on the council.

MOSAIC: What sparked your interest in politics and service?

LaWana Mayfield: Talking to my friend started all of this. I had 15 years of community organizing/volunteering experience. I worked for the Red Cross for seven years in finance. The corporate headquarters is between Washington, D.C., and Charlotte. I was a client casework supervisor trained to work during natural disasters. After (Hurricanes) Katrina/Rita I went to work in Mississippi in the shelters. Charlotte is where I found my love for volunteerism.

MOSAIC: Your district covers a big part of Charlotte’s west side, from South End to parts of South Tryon and the suburbs near Tyvola Road. How do you serve such a diverse constituency?

Mayfield: I show up. What I promise is that to the best of my ability is that I will be accessible. There are plenty of days that I will have an 8 a.m. meeting and my last meeting will be at 7 p.m. On the weekends I will be at community festivals and events. I also host town hall meetings. …

I also just listen, because people are frustrated and they just want to know that someone is genuinely interested in what their concerns are. …

MOSAIC: You are the second African American councilwoman to serve in Charlotte and Anthony Foxx is the city’s second African American mayor. How much has the Obama administration served as a pillar of change for young African American politicians?

Mayfield: I love the fact that we have an articulate biracial president. (But) President Bush had more African Americans in his cabinet than this administration. I would love to see a lot more people of color running and being elected to office. … We have to create a better succession plan. We say we want better, we say we deserve better, but then we don’t vote like it. …

MOSAIC: Would you consider running for office in North Carolina and maybe even nationally?

Mayfield: I believe I am to be in this current seat a minimum of three years to see what was started come to fruition. If the community says something different then I will hold my head up high and say I’ve done what I said I would do.

MOSAIC: If you didn’t have a career in public service, what could you see yourself doing?

Mayfield: I would still be a volunteer. Even if I worked for some corporation I would still have a way to give back. …

MOSAIC: What do you love about Charlotteans overall and those in your district?

Mayfield: The people of Charlotte are dynamic. Regardless of what side of the aisle we fall on, people are very passionate about their views. I appreciate that passion on both sides. … I would describe my district as fondue because it’s a melting pot!