Why I am Voting for DeDreana Freeman

By Lorisa Seibel

DeDreana Freeman is the neighborhood leader who will serve all of Durham.  If you have ever worked with a volunteer- led group, then you know how important it is to have volunteer leaders who do what they say they will do.  DeDreana Freeman is one of those extraordinary leaders.  I met DeDreana Freeman ten years ago at her home in the Golden Belt neighborhood.  I was impressed by her energy and vision for all people to live well in her neighborhood, East Durham, and Durham.  Today, a decade later, I am even more impressed with DeDreana’ s accomplishments.

Providing housing for lower-income families has been my life’s work, and I know something about the issue.  Some folks just wring their hands and talk about Durham’s affordable housing problem.  DeDreana is more than talk – she’s doing something about it.  From her seat on the Planning Commission, DeDreana has pushed reluctant developers to make significant financial commitments for affordable housing.  She uses her position on the commission as a pulpit to demand equity in development issues.  At a time when expansion and development are foremost in Durham, I want a person on council who understands complex planning and zoning issues.  DeDreana will be a strong voice to guide growth to benefit all of Durham.

DeDreana lives and works in a diverse East Durham neighborhood.  She works for the East Durham Children’s Initiative. As president of the Golden Belt Neighborhood Association, DeDreana worked with neighbors to win protection for their historic homes, after a city process of more than five years.  This victory was just in time to stabilize their neighborhood and stop displacement from gentrification.  In an extraordinary step, DeDreana and community leaders in East Durham acted to prevent the eviction of 54 families.  They created a partnership with the Durham Community Land Trustees to buy, repair, and keep these homes affordable for generations.  DeDreana supports an expanded property tax break so that rising home values and taxes will not force lower-income folks out of their homes.  As President of the Inter-Neighborhood Council, DeDreana worked with neighborhood leaders and people of every stripe across Durham.  She understands how important safe and stable neighborhoods are to ordinary people.

DeDreana is engaged and dedicated.  She is not timid or aloof.  She meets with people where they live – in the neighborhood park and in their living rooms.  She listens.  When we say we want a “Durham for all,” we mean a shared prosperity that lifts everybody, everybody, up.  If this is what we mean, then DeDreana Freeman is the candidate for the ward one City Council seat.  That’s why I am voting for DeDreana Freeman.

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