Cheri Honkala is marching to U.S. Chamber of Commerce next weekend—from Philly
Her former campaign is knee-deep in a federal audit by the Federal Election Commission, but former vice presidential candidate and veteran Philadelphia economic activist Cheri Honkala is headed to D.C. this weekend. On foot.
“We’re marching to the Chamber of Commerce,” she says. “We’re marching to the real power.”
Honkala tells Philadelphia Weekly that her march alongside the Economic Human Rights Campaign, a national group of which she is an organizer, is meant to keep attention on the budget cuts resulting from the sequester. The meetup will be at 3rd and Cumberland in Kensington.
While the effects of the sequester cannot yet be fully comprehended, a Mother Jones article notes that 125,000 low-income people are losing access to vouchers to help them with their rent, 75,000 fewer people will have access to homeless counseling services, 100,000 formerly homeless will be removed from emergency shelters, Head Start will be slashed by $400 million and Department of Agriculture cuts will result in eliminating 10,000 low-income rural people from rental assistance.
In a cynical move, Congress recently halted the furloughts of air traffic controllers when sequester cuts created long lines in airports, showing who their priorities are with when budgets are cut.
Honkala says that her march with the PPEHRC will be meant to bring attention to a number of issues. They include stopping cuts to the poor, creating more living wage jobs, green jobs, homelessness, stopping school closings, and other issues. Google Maps puts the trip at 47 hours.
“I don’t think anybody’s marched to the Chamber before,” she says. “They’re the ones who determine what kind of investments are put into the cities and the states and what kinds of jobs. And [less and less jobs are] providing living wages.”
Honkala was chosen by Jill Stein to run as the vice-presidential candidate on the Green Party ticket last fall. The two earned about half-a-million votes nationwide. Now, they’re continuing the activism of their campaign, creating a Green Shadow Cabinet meant to respond directly to the goings-on of the U.S. government and show people that there is another, third direction that can be taken.
While the PPEHRC has asked for donations, Honkala admits of the 157 mile hike: “We don’t have a dollar. Our budget is zero. We’re going to march 20 miles a day. It’s going to be terrible, but it’s better than sitting around with a bunch of people, depressed, who don’t have employment…Maybe one of the consequences of the march will be someone will get employed.”
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