From the Cheri Honkala Campaign:
The Green Party Vice Presidential candidate, Philadelphia based activist Cheri Honkala, was in Tampa on Friday, August 25, to discuss her fledgling campaign. Founder of the Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign, www.economichumanrights.org/, Honkala was also here to talk up the group’s protest that will take place on the first day of the Republican National Convention, Monday, August 27.
Although she says that she never imagined she would be on a presidential ticket, Honkala has campaigned for office before, running for Sheriff of Philadelphia last year.
“I made the decision that I would run as a formerly homeless mother…for vice president of this country,” Honkala said, speaking from “Romneyville,” the encampment located behind the Army Navy Surplus Store on Tampa Street that currently has 17 tents up and expects possibly hundreds more by the time the convention comes to town later this month as a haven for protesters looking for a place to sleep at night.
The long time street activist, who says been arrested in her words over 200 times for civil disobedience, asked the public to get behind the candidacy of Dr. Jill Stein, who was elected to be the Green Party’s nominee for president earlier this summer, www.jillstein.org.
The issue of dealing with the housing foreclosure crises is one of the top items of the Stein-Honkala ticket, and Cheri Honkala on Friday talked about her very own sister as currently being homeless, after owning her home for 27 years. She also talked about veterans health care, student debt, and the increased militarization of the war in Afghanistan as reasons why she has turned against Barack Obama, who she supported and campaigned for in 2008.
Honkala said part of her campaign is about going to the neighborhoods that Obama and Mitt Romney would never be seen seeking votes. “They don’t know the fear of someone that’s been wrongly incarcerated, waiting for years and years to have their trial to get out of jail. They don’t know what it’s like to share medicine with a friend because they don’t have the money to be able to afford to pay for their medication.”
And she said she wanted to talk about the “P word” – poverty.
On August 1, Stein and Honkala were among five people arrested and charged with defiant trespass and conspiracy for a sit-in at a bank in Philadelphia in a demonstration against foreclosures called “Occupy Fannie Mae”. Their trial is set for September 2. “We’re going to end the foreclosure problem,” she said by telling families to “stay put in their homes.”
Honkala was joined at the late afternoon press conference by local “Romneyville” activists the Reverend Bruce Wright and the Reverend Gregory Lockett. “This truly is a movement of the poor, homeless and unemployed from the bottom up,” Wright said.
When asked her thoughts about protesting in Tampa, Honkala expressed concerns about the insurance plan the city of Tampa is using for potential lawsuits that may result from allegations of brutality or abuse during the convention. “It’s kind of like giving the city before the march begins permission to have bad behavior, because the city’s cushioned themselves to pay out lawsuits later.”
Honkala and Wright say they have known each other for nearly 20 years. The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign and others will march on opening day of the Republican National Convention on AUGUST 27th, Monday from 3pm to 5:30 p.m.
For more information on the Philadelphia Stein/Honkala Campaign, please contact 215-243-7103 and firstname.lastname@example.org.