VP Kamala Harris

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris speaking with attendees at the 2019 National Forum on Wages and Working People hosted by the Center for the American Progress Action Fund and the SEIU at the Enclave in Las Vegas, Nevada.

On Jan. 20, Kamala Harris made history when she was inaugurated as the first female Vice President of the United States, as well as the first African American and Asian American to hold the office. 

Harris is an alumna of Howard University and was a sister of Alpha Kappa Alpha during her time as an undergraduate student. Alpha Kappa Alpha is the first intercollegiate historically African American sorority and was founded at Howard in the early 20th century.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Inc. declared Jan. 20 “Kamala D. Harris Day” to honor her accomplishments. Members were asked to wear pink and pearls to help celebrate Harris, two symbols of the sorority.

Inauguration Day was especially important on campus as West Virginia University features a chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha. Many sisters celebrated Harris by watching the inauguration and wearing their pearls as well.

Sister Tiara Rowe said Harris’ initial run as President meant a lot to her.

“For a black woman to put her best foot forward and attempt to run for President, it was very courageous in my eyes,” Rowe said. “I feel like she’s brave, and I feel like she’s achieved a lot.”

Rowe started keeping up with Harris in 2018, as a junior in high school. Now, three years later, she still follows Harris and her achievements. 

Despite opening her presidential campaign as a name to watch in the Democratic Party, Harris suspended her presidential campaign due to a lack of financial resources.

“Even after she withdrew from the presidential race, I knew that this was not going to be our last time seeing her,” Rowe said. 

Rowe said as an AKA sister and a long-time Harris supporter, Harris’ accomplishments give her hope as a political science major. 

“It makes the women of Alpha Kappa Alpha proud because that is an organization full of black women who create black excellence and achieve highly,” Rowe said. “I feel like Kamala does more than that.”

Camryn Pressley, another sister of AKA, said Harris’ initial run for president showed herself and other AKA members that girls anywhere can do anything, no matter their skin color.

“The initial run for president was very important to us,” Pressley said. “It showed us that as members and sisters of the first historically black sorority created in the world that we will always be first.”

Although the sisters couldn’t watch the inauguration together due to COVID-19 and quarantining, they still celebrated Harris and all of her accomplishments.

“We did some fun things on Jan. 15, which is our Founder’s Day,” Pressley said. “She came and spoke to us. It was very celebratory for her.”

Pressley said while she watched Harris get sworn in, she felt like a little kid.

“I was jumping up and down in my seat and was so excited about what was happening,” said Pressley. “I got to watch her make history.”