Cherelle was born to a single teenage mom and raised by her grandparents James and Dorothy Parker. Cherelle achieved her dreams because of the unconditional love of her family, the support of her community, and a belief in the power of education.
Cherelle went to Philadelphia public schools her whole life, then was the first person in her family to go to college, earning her bachelor’s degree from Lincoln University where she pledged Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and earned her master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Commitment to Service
Starting in high school, Cherelle began interning in Philadelphia’s City Council for Councilwoman Marian B. Tasco.
After receiving her undergraduate degree, she taught public school as a high school English teacher and ESL teacher working with immigrant children and adults.
Lured back to public service by Councilwoman Tasco, she accepted a position in her council office and rose to serve as a senior staffer where she oversaw – among many other things – the implementation of all economic and community development initiatives that helped neighborhoods and business corridors thrive. By the time she left, she was one of Councilwoman Tasco’s most trusted advisors.
Elected to the State House
Cherelle served for 10 years (2005 – 2015) as a State Representative representing Northwest Philadelphia. On winning her election, she made history as the youngest African-American woman elected to the State Legislature. In Harrisburg, she was elected by her colleagues to chair the Philadelphia Delegation, and it was in this role that she earned her reputation as one of the most effective legislators in Harrisburg.
- Cherelle secured a dedicated funding source worth tens of millions of dollars annually when the Philadelphia School District was facing the fallout of funding cuts and nearing a financial collapse that would have included massive teacher cuts, closing schools, and merging grades, and other austerity measures that would have hurt students in Philadelphia.
- Additionally, to increase funding for schools, Cherelle also led an innovative way for the city to collect delinquent property taxes from deadbeat property owners generating tens of millions of dollars in additional revenue for schools.
Helping Working Philadelphians
- Cherelle protected long-term homeowners by creating the LOOP program capping how much property taxes can increase – an especially important piece of legislation for residents whose communities are gentrifying.
- Cherelle blocked payday lenders from preying on the financially vulnerable and saving thousands from being buried under a mountain of debt.
Protecting Victims of Sexual Assault
- Understanding the challenges of prosecuting sexual assault crimes and the difficulties that victims must endure, Cherelle authored the bill that strengthens victims’ rights by permitting expert testimony regarding victim behavior in cases of sexual assault.
Elected to City Council
Cherelle took her penchant for getting things done to City Council in 2016 representing Northwest Philadelphia and the lower Northeast – some of the most stable and most diverse working class communities in the city. In City Council, she was elected by her colleagues to serve as the Council Majority Leader. It was in this role where she focused on public safety, stabilizing “middle neighborhoods,” economic opportunity – especially for small businesses, and working to get city government to function like it should.
A Safer City
- Cherelle has been leading the fight to implement a comprehensive Neighborhood Policing and Community Safety Plan focused on protecting our families and reducing gun violence across Philadelphia. Cherelle’s plan includes hiring 300 more beat and bike police in every neighborhood, rehiring retired police to fill administrative positions to get more cops on the street, and addressing poverty and quality of life issues that lead to a sense of lawlessness in our city.
A City With More Opportunity
- Raising the minimum wage for all city contract employees.
- Create a model grant and low interest loan program to help homeowners maintain their homes and make basic repairs – a program that has let longtime residents stay in the homes they love
- Establishing a free small business training and technical assistance program called PHL Power Up Your Business.
A Cleaner, Greener City
- Established PHL/Taking Care of Business (PHL/TCB) to clean and green in and around commercial corridors to give businesses and neighbors a sense of pride in their community.