In a groundbreaking moment for Philadelphia, Cherelle Parker has been elected as the city’s 100th mayor, marking a historic victory as the first woman and the first Black woman to hold this esteemed position. The triumph over Republican opponent, former City Councilman David Oh, solidifies Parker’s place in the city’s history.
Born to a single teenage mom and raised by her grandparents, James and Dorothy Parker, Cherelle’s journey is a testament to the power of resilience, community support, and the transformative impact of education. A product of Philadelphia public schools, she became the first in her family to attend college, earning her bachelor’s degree from Lincoln University, where she pledged Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Initiated at Lincoln University, Cherelle’s commitment to service and sisterhood within Delta Sigma Theta has been a guiding force throughout her career. Her dedication to the principles of the sorority has played a significant role in shaping her advocacy for education, community empowerment, and social justice.
With a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Cherelle entered the political arena, serving as a State Representative for 10 years, from 2005 to 2015. Her election to the State Legislature made her the youngest African-American woman to achieve this position, and her effectiveness earned her the chairmanship of the Philadelphia Delegation in Harrisburg.
One of Cherelle’s notable achievements during her tenure as a State Representative was securing a dedicated funding source worth tens of millions of dollars annually for the Philadelphia School District. In the face of funding cuts and the looming threat of a financial collapse for the schools, her efforts played a crucial role in averting a crisis and protecting the educational opportunities for countless students.
Cherelle’s commitment to the community extended beyond education. She created the LOOP program, safeguarding long-term homeowners from excessive property tax increases, a crucial step in communities facing gentrification. Additionally, her advocacy against payday lenders protected vulnerable citizens from financial exploitation.
Understanding the complexities of prosecuting sexual assault crimes, Cherelle authored a bill strengthening victims’ rights, allowing expert testimony on victim behavior in sexual assault cases. This initiative showcased her dedication to justice and empathy for survivors.
Transitioning to City Council in 2016, Cherelle continued her impactful leadership, representing Northwest Philadelphia and the lower Northeast. Elected as the Council Majority Leader, she focused on public safety, economic opportunities for small businesses, and ensuring efficient city governance.
Cherelle’s historic victory as Philadelphia’s first woman mayor signifies a new era for the city. Her message of unity and progress resonated with a diverse array of voters, reflecting her ability to connect with the people she serves. As she steps into the role, Cherelle Parker brings with her a legacy of advocacy, community engagement, and a commitment to shaping a Philadelphia that works for everyone.
At her victory party at the Sheet Metal Workers hall on South Columbus Boulevard, Parker expressed gratitude to her supporters and reiterated her dedication to building a more inclusive and prosperous Philadelphia.
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