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'A neighbor to my neighbors': DeDreana Freeman highlights environmentalism, equity in City Council reelection campaign

<p>DeDreana Freeman is highlighting the power of gradual change and justice across multiple spheres in her re-election campaign.</p>

DeDreana Freeman is highlighting the power of gradual change and justice across multiple spheres in her re-election campaign.

Editor's note: This article is part of a series of mayoral and city council candidate profiles. Check back for more throughout the week.

DeDreana Freeman is highlighting the power of gradual change and justice across multiple spheres in her re-election campaign.

Freeman has served as a member of the City of Durham Ward I Council since 2017. She ran on a platform of “social, economic and environmental justice.”

“The point of it was to see Durham—see Durham with a vision of how we could all live, work and play safely,” Freeman said. “The vision is for an equitable Durham.”

Freeman is “committed to being a neighbor to [her] neighbors,” she said.

Freeman explained that she has maintained this same platform from her original campaign because it’s impossible to address all of her goals in only three and a half years.  She believes real change happens at a “gradual, glacial speed.”

“[Change] doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t happen in three years,” she said.

According to her campaign website, Freeman has five priorities: community health and safety, environmental justice, environmental stewardship, jobs and economic growth and transportation and sustainable housing. 

Freeman explained that she “didn’t come in as this social justice advocate in the same way that some of [her] colleagues have,” she said. 

“I came in because of the issues in my community—road widenings, traffic impact analysis, when the trash pickup was, making sure that water treatment facilities were actually operating at capacity and that we actually had clean water.” 

Many of these priorities involve environmental concerns, for a reason that Freeman traces back to an experience decades ago.

“In the 7th grade, I did a reduce-reuse-recycle three day retreat. And it had an impact because it left me with my responsibility as a human being on this earth. What I do and the decisions I make will have an impact on the earth,” Freeman said. 

Freeman also advocated for term limits for city council members.

“I think two terms is enough. Eight years is enough. What can happen is that you get kind of settled in and you just run business as usual whereas new and fresh eyes coming in is helpful,” Freeman said.

“I cannot do 16 years like my predecessor did. I don’t think that would be healthy.” 

Additionally, Freeman explained how her identity as an Indigenous woman of color affects her mindset as a member of Durham City Council.

“As I learn more about [my heritage], I become more grounded in why I do what I do in the way that I do it, why I’m not high energy and fast about this. This is a slow and meticulous journey,” Freeman said. “I’m very intentional about what I do.” 


Madeleine Berger

Madeleine Berger is a Trinity sophomore and a university news editor of The Chronicle's 117th volume.

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