[Hpn] Cheri takes message to Dems

Coalition on Homelessness, SF coh@sfo.com
Sun, 13 Aug 2000 03:20:55 -0700


Friday, August 11, 2000

Cheri takes message to Dems in L.A.

by Lisa Helem, Daily News Staff Writer
Daily News Staff Writer

The Kensington Welfare Rights Union intends to be seen and heard next 
week at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.

The union, which was among demonstrators at the Republican National 
Convention here last week, intends to get its message across to the 
other party.

About a dozen members will make the trek, the group said at a news 
conference yesterday at its North 5th Street headquarters.

"We have to let the world know that the homeless do exist," said 
Elizabeth Ortiz, a homeless mother and KWRU member.

"Every chance we get, we're going to put our voices out there," said 
KWRU President Cheri Honkala. "We have to make sure that the poor are 
not made invisible."

In Los Angeles, the group will link up with other human-rights 
organizations to put on the National Homeless Convention, the 
Mothers' Convention on Welfare, and a march against the World Trade 

Honkala is also set to speak at a Shadow Convention on poverty and inequality.
The group's experience protesting during the GOP get-together makes 
members optimistic that their message will be heard in California.

"Commissioner Timoney will not be able to bicycle into our event. 
That's a positive," said Honkala, referring to head Philly's top cop 
John Timoney, who kept tabs on the protesters at the GOP convention 
by bicycle.

In addition, the group hopes that its concerns will not be 
overshadowed by issues of police and protester misconduct, as leaders 
felt happened here.

"Anything that diverts attention from poverty and homelessness 
doesn't help our cause," said Honkala.

The KWRU hopes that West Coast protesters are able to use the RNC 
experience as a guide for how to do things the right way.

KWRU members will leave for Los Angeles tomorrow, and will return, 
pending no delay for jail time, on Tuesday.

Send e-mail to heleml@phillynews.com
(c) 2000 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.


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