For almost 30 years, Cheri Honkala has been a committed and tireless crusader on behalf of Philadelphians experiencing homelessness, poverty, and extreme poverty in District 197 where many struggle to get by on less than $2 a day.
In addition to housing rights, Cheri works for education and healthcare for all, social and economic equality, an end to the war on drugs and the resulting mass incarceration, and protection of immigrants’ rights.
Cheri is co-founder of the Kensington Welfare Rights Union, a “Philadelphia based interracial organization of welfare recipients and other poor people.” She is also the co-founder of and National Coordinator of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign--representing a network of over 40 poor people’s organizations across the United States. In 2012, Cheri was the Green Party's vice-presidential candidate in 2012 alongside Dr. Jill Stein.
As a State Representative in Harrisburg, Cheri will continue to advocate for the dignity and basic human rights of each of her constituents in District 197 and also fight for policies that redirect industries away from environmental destruction and toward sustainable and renewable energy, preserving a habitable future for all Pennsylvanians!
My mom named me Cheri because she believes in the basic importance of sharing. I've used my life to live up to that ideal.
Cheri faced homelessness as a single mother. One day, she had to make the decision to either take over an empty house or see her son die from exposure. This moment launched Cheri’s activism, as she never forgot the weight of that decision, even decades after escaping homelessness herself. She has been fighting to free others from the trauma of poverty every day since.
Decades of Advocacy
Cheri has stood with organizers, activists, advocates and engaged citizens on almost every justice issue over the last several decades. While many were unaware of the inequity that hid in the shadows of our society, Cheri has fought to bring the truth to light, transform our communities, improve the quality of people’s lives, and protect our planet.
Vision For A Better Tomorrow
With her district having two failed officials in a row who both resigned in scandal, Cheri was compelled within her heart and by her community to run for the Representative seat. She is ready now to take her deep connection to the struggles and triumphs of grassroots activism and ensure they are truly negotiated at the State House. Her vision is a fair and equitable Philadelphia in which every resident is well cared for.