Following the Campaign Trail, Green Party VP Candidate Honkala
Announces Human Rights City and World Court of Women Against Poverty, Moving From Defensive to Offensive

DATE: Monday, October 10, 3:00 PM
LOCATION: Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign office
ADDRESS: 174 W. Diamond Street, Philadelphia, PA
CONTACT: Ross Levin,, (610) 888-1541
Cheri Honkala,, (267) 344-6318

On December 10, Cheri Honkala will join with community members to announce a people’s tribunal, the US Court of Women Against Poverty, Eastern Region, to be held in Philadelphia, October 18-20, 2013.

Honkala ran as the Green Party’s vice presidential nominee this year and is currently the national organizer of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. The announcement comes on International Human Rights Day, to commemorate the 1948 adoption of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, which established the international standard for protection and provision of fundamental rights for all people.

“We couldn’t turn the White House into a Green House this year, stated Honkala, “So now we’re starting with taking back Philly.” In this next stage of her life, Honkala continued, she will be moving from meeting and connecting with the people the corporate campaigns forgot, to creating a space for those people to affirm and organize themselves. The World Court will be one of dozens of such events held worldwide to bring people, not only women, together to share and document stories of the poor. This will serve to validate their own experiences. It will also provide material to be presented to the UN in Geneva as evidence of human rights violations in the United States. “Everyone thinks just because we live in what’s supposedly the richest nation on Earth, we don’t have extreme poverty, added Honkala, “That’s just not true.”

A new effort to turn Philadelphia into a human rights city will also be announced. Honkala, the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign and allies are taking a two-sided approach of holding those in power responsible, but not waiting on them to act. The actions of government leaders are significant, yet projects called “projects of survival” by Honkala will continue regardless of their action, or lack thereof. However City Council addresses vacant lots, for example, farming on them in hungry neighborhoods will continue. However City Council addresses homelessness and the foreclosure crisis, takeovers of vacant homes will continue. However corruption is addressed, or not, Green candidates supporting the Green New Deal and real democracy will continue to run. Around the world, the people are no longer taking the defensive position. Here in Philadelphia, creating a human rights city, and hosting the World Court, is what it looks like when the people move into the offensive.

Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign moves from defensive to offensive with human rights city and World Court

You only get what you are organized to take!

Two sides to the new offense:

1) Holding those in power responsible. We are committed to working with people to identify our real friends and our real enemies. Due to the reality of the crisis, we are completely breaking with the two corporate parties. To continue with this alignment is to contribute to our own destruction.

2) Use the power that we already have, through projects of survival. These are things that will help us to live in the short term, but actually simultaneously create a new economy based on sharing and cooperation, as well as a better way to live and restored community.

These two ideas can be applied to the various human rights crises we are facing today. Some of the list below can be addressed mostly by directly acting, some of them require action from those in power now. For each one, there is a different balance of how to do it, but each one requires immediate and bold action—our offense. For example:

1) End homelessness by housing homeless people through housing takeovers.
2) Stop home foreclosures by teaching people just to stay in their own homes.
3) End hunger, vacant lots, and environmental problems and create valuable work by occupying and farming on vacant lots, and sharing what is grown!
4) Stop the closure of public schools and the school to prison pipeline.
5) Forgive student debt.
6) Running people for political office.