Cheri Honkala Announces Green Party Candidacy for Philadelphia Sheriff
Honkala vows to fill 40,000 empty properties & keep Philadelphia families in their homes if elected
by Belinda Davis
February 18, 2011
Cheri Honkala announced her intent to run as the Green Party candidate for sheriff at 10:00 a.m. on 2/17, addressing an overflow crowd of some 60 supporters and members of the press at 718 Market St. (the headquarters of Casino-Free Philadelphia). Before her announcement, Jim Moran led the crowd of chants to “keep families in their homes,” the echoing the central theme of Honkala’s anti-foreclosure platform. Next, numerous speakers offered their enthusiastic support, as Holly Walker interpreted their comments in sign language.
Rev. Robert Johnson, whose own family has suffered under foreclosure, asked the crowd to “put themselves in [his] shoes.” Esther Smith, whose family was able to avoid foreclosure, emphasized how Honkala had stood by her—and how she in turn stood by Honkala. Galen Tyler, of the PPEHRC, said that as the Green Party candidate for sheriff, Honkala would be “for the people, not for the corporations,” and urged everyone to “get their friends, families, and neighbors out to work for Cheri.”
Hugh Giordano, a union organizer speaking on behalf of the Green Party, stressed that Honkala “was what a Green Party candidate should be. The Green Party stands for people—getting candidates who stand for us, not the CEOs and the bankers.” He added that the Green Party does not accept contributions from corporations. “The Green Party stands for social justice, democracy, good public education, a living wage, union jobs—and keeping people in their homes. Everyone should be proud that Cheri Honkala is running for sheriff as a Green Party candidate.”
Thomas Earl, a civil rights lawyer who works for the independent living movement, emphasized that individuals with disabilities were more vulnerable to foreclosures. Sister Margaret McKenna, of New Jerusalem, stated, “I believe in Cheri, for the moment, for Philadelphia, and for the world. Anything we can do for Cheri, we will do.” She added how pleased she was for the connection between Cheri and the Green Party. Tara welcomed the crowd in Spanish, urging them to support Honkala. Speakers also noted the enthusiastic support of labor leaders Joseph Dougherty and Thomas Paine Cronin, though the two couldn’t be present.
Honkala then came to the microphone, emphasizing how this was a campaign of inclusion. She asked for a moment of silence, for those who had lost homes, including for the two Philadelphians who had committed suicide after experiencing foreclosure; and a moment of thanks for the disabled individuals who survived the recent home fire. She continued, “I am a formerly homeless single mother of two, and I am running for sheriff on the Green Party ticket.” She noted that she would not be alone in this quest: that there were hundreds of thousands who agreed with her message. “I’m running because I love Philadelphia,” she emphasized, noting that “ideas are born here.”
Honkala named numerous of her own significant ideas and solutions, via which, she suggested, Philadelphia could set an example for the rest of the country. These included means of keeping families in their homes, and opposing the politics of scarcity. “We’ve been protecting the wrong people.” She set her goal to “fill the vacant homes, the 40,000 empty vessels in the city,” as a major step in creating “affordable housing for everyone.” She advocated for a community-controlled land bank, “where we’re in control of what happens in our neighborhoods.” She added, “yes, we are upholding the law—this higher law that says the poor people of Philadelphia have the same rights as the banks do.” Honkala concluded, “another Philadelphia is possible. It only requires all of us to step forward and get involved. People have to take a position.” For the campaign, “We need each and every one of you—your time and your money. This is the campaign to work on, because you matter. Together we will keep families where they belong—in their homes!” Honkala concluded her message to rousing applause.
To find out more, visit the campaign website: CheriHonkala.com.
Follow the campaign on Twitter: @Cheri4Sheriff.
Support the campaign on Facebook: Cheri Honkala for Sheriff of Philadelphia.