Profiles in Justice: Andreana Barefield
Andreana S. Barefield, MSW, has been with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office’s (DAO) Community Engagement Unit since November 2019.
“Perhaps the most rewarding part of my role as the DAO Community Engagement Liaison for Northwest, East, and Northeast Philadelphia is the opportunity to work alongside others to build strong communities,” Barefield says. “My job is to learn what it’s like to live in the East and Northeast, and to create a pipeline of communication between the community and the DAO. Our unit works diligently to do this in a way that gives the communities the respect they deserve while advocating for their needs and interests.”
Barefield has roots in Philadelphia, Camden, and Puerto Rico, but did not find her way to the city until enrolling for her Master’s degree.
“I double majored in Spanish and East Asian Studies with a concentration in Japanese at Rutgers University in New Brunswick in 2015. I was trained and hired as a registered New Jersey HIV Test Counselor on campus, and thought I would be continuing my career in the public health sector,” Barefield says. “Rather than uproot to relocate for work, I found my way back home and resumed training in American Goju Karate. I first began practicing martial arts at the age of twelve, and achieving black belt had always been a huge goal of mine. Today, I am one of three female black belts at West Atco Youth in Action’s dojo.”
During that time, Barefield began substitute teaching in Camden City in a pre-kindergarten classroom. In the fall of 2016, she enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania and received her Master’s in Social Work.
The year before graduation, she travelled to Kolkata, India, as a summer intern from Penn’s South Asia Center to work with Kolkata Anandam for Equality and Justice to complete production of Until and Unless, a short documentary film set in West Bengal a year before the historic decision to repeal India’s anti-sodomy law. During production, Barefield learned the importance of honoring a person’s life through storytelling. Unexpectedly to her, advocacy through storytelling is a skill Barefield often uses as a liaison in the DAO. Barefield is humbled to be entrusted with the stories of people’s lives in the effort of building a greater Philadelphia.