Philadelphia's Latino Clergy to Endorse Cheri Honkala
Long-time Activist Enters Special Election Race and Picks Up National Endorsements
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — Cheri Honkala, a well-known Kensington-based anti-poverty activist and candidate for Pennsylvania State Representative in the 197th district has been endorsed by pastors who lead Latino congregations in this heavily Spanish-speaking district.
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March 17, 2017
Cheri Honkala for State Representative, District 197
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The pastors held a press conference with Honkala at 11 a.m., Friday, March 17, Christian Academy Church, 3554 N. 6th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19140.
"As a pastor, I stand against the political corruption that has been happening because it's something that is affecting all of us--black, white, Latino. It's hard to find a political candidate we can trust in this time, but Cheri Honkala is one that we can. Corruption has deeply affected our community, so it's time that we as a people stand up. This is the time and this is the year," said Pastor Carlos Benabe from Casa Del Alfarero Ministry.
Edgardo Gonzalez, Honkala's campaign chairman, explained, "Others that you see running were part of the same scheme to elect someone who isn't even from this district. Cheri has been here for 30 years working on behalf of the poor and homeless. Voters simply need to ask themselves, what have the other candidates been doing for this community the past 30 years? Then compare that with Cheri."
Honkala has also recently been endorsed by a few other organizations including the national progressive political action organization, Our Revolution, another national progressive nonprofit called Progress for All, and a local progressive group, Philadelphia Neighborhood Networks.
"Cheri doesn't just talk the talk. She's been arrested dozens of times protesting home foreclosures, school closing, and any number of other assaults by private and public entities against the fundamental right of poor people to live lives of dignity," said Stan Shapiro of Neighborhood Networks.
Our Revolution, the group kicked off by 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, announced its endorsement for Honkala on March 7. In a recent email to their supporters, they said, "For years Cheri has been fighting for the poor, the disenfranchised, the tired, and the broken - and now we need to show up in a big way… Cheri is the change we need."
"Cheri Honkala is running a truly grassroots campaign that is of, by, and for the people of Pennsylvania's 197th legislative district," said Tim Canova, who garnered the support of progressives nationwide when he vied for the seat of then-Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in a Florida congressional district. Progress For All, founded by Canova, also endorsed Honkala.
Honkala was also endorsed by former Philadelphia health commissioner Walter Tsou, former Philaposh Director Emeritus Jim Moran, as well as recommended by the PEOPLE Committee of one of the city's largest labor unions for an official union endorsement by the whole delegation.
Tsou stated, "Cheri has been fighting for the little guy all her life. She is far and away the most progressive candidate in the 197th district, and we need her in Harrisburg."
"It's time to trade in the politics of party for the politics of performance," Moran said. "Cheri Honkala has a 30-year track record of performing tremendously for labor rights, human rights and the rights of our communities to a better life. I'm proud to have known her, worked with her, and gone to jail with her in these struggles. This is no time to turn our backs on Cheri in the race for State Representative in the 197th District."
Honkala, who has advocated for poor and homeless people in Philadelphia for the past 30 years and is raising a 14-year-old son whose father is Puerto Rican, vowed to continue supporting the Latino community.
"Many of my Latino neighbors bristle at the thought of being detained and deported," she said. "That's why I will turn my district office into a sanctuary if the city gives up its sanctuary status."
Honkala and her coalition of supporters are organizing a write-in campaign for the special election. In a low-turnout special election, Honkala needs just 1,500 votes to win this special election.