November 29, 2020

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Members on Kamala Harris’s Win

10 min read

It was a moment of many firsts. When Kamala Harris stepped up to the podium wearing suffragette white in Delaware last Saturday, she became the first woman, the first Black woman, and the first Indian-American, South Asian, and Asian-American person to speak to supporters as vice president-elect of the United States. She will also be the first graduate of a historically Black college or university and the first member of a Black sorority to be second in command of the nation.

Harris graduated from Howard University, where she pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, a storied organization with 300,000 members and a long tradition of activism. A sea of sisters mobilized behind her during the campaign, registering voters, phone-banking, and promoting an online campaign to “stroll to the polls.”

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When Harris won, AKAs all across the country dressed in the sorority’s colors of pink and green to sing and dance in the streets — and the celebration hasn’t stopped since. Here’s what its members—from world-famous activists to politicians to editors to actors—had to say about their sorority’s history-making moment.

Dr. Bernice A. King, CEO of King Center and daughter of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

bernice king

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Nu Lambda Omega Chapter

“Seeing my sorority sister break a glass ceiling makes me proud. We continue to be a sisterhood of firsts. We are the first Black Greek-letter organization for women, specifically African-American women, the first to create a Congressional lobby that impacted legislation on issues ranging from decent living conditions and jobs to lynching (1938), and now the first and only Greek-letter member of the National Pan-Hellenic Council to ever enter the White House! My mother, Coretta Scott King, who was also an AKA, once said, ‘Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe that you must become its soul.’ If we are truly going to save the soul of this nation, then it is critical women take their rightful place as leaders and influencers in high positions in this nation. We know of the capacity of women, especially Black women, to build coalitions and organize their strengths into a force for change and transformation that is desperately needed in this hour. When I think of this historic victory, I am reminded of the women who paved the way for this to happen. I first think of my mother, who worked tirelessly with our government to ensure my father’s life was remembered by spearheading the massive educational and lobbying campaign to establish my father Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a national holiday. I then think of Charlotta Bass, an African American journalist and political activist from California who ran for vice president in 1948 with the Progressive Party and Shirley Chisholm, the first Black female member of Congress, who had years of experience in public office and a national reputation when she became the first Black American and the first woman to seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972.

These women have laid a strong foundation and paved the way for women to continue to be a force to be recorded with. Because of them, not only are women’s voices being heard louder in various sectors of American life, but Black women especially are being more respected as essential thought leaders, voices, and change agents in determining how our nation creates a more just, humane, equitable, and peaceful nation. I feel hopeful for the country. I believe this was a victory for humanity, for justice, and for our democracy. I think we have come a long way, especially since 2016, but I also know that we have a long way to go. It is now imperative that we begin the real work of healing our nation and find a way to indeed be the United States of America.”

Terri Sewell, Alabama Congresswoman

terri seewell

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Zeta Eta Omega Chapter

“This historic election has not only restored our faith in Democracy but has delivered our nation’s first woman and first Black woman vice president-elect: my colleague, friend and sorority sister Kamala Harris. The hope and dreams of the founding women of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated were to be of service to all mankind and to uplift women. You have to see it, to be it! Now, little girls across the world have the example of Kamala Harris to look up to and expand their imagination of what women can achieve!”

Arianna Davis, Oprah Magazine Digital Director

arianna davis

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Delta Gamma Chapter, Penn State

“I’m a fourth generation AKA. My great grandmother was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, and also a regional director, one of the national—and esteemed—positions you can hold in the sorority. As a kid, I went to events in the community with my grandmother and aunt, who showed me at a young age what it meant to be part of a lifelong sisterhood, and one that served its communities. I grew up eager to one day become an AKA, and when I crossed in Spring 2007 at Penn State’s Delta Gamma chapter, my only regret was that my grandmother and aunt weren’t alive to see me follow in their footsteps. And now, seeing our soror become elected to the White House as our new vice president, I wish they could be here to witness history. Because of them and so many other incredible Black women in this sorority, I’ve always known anything was possible, but now seeing Kamala Harris primed to take over the White House, I truly feel anything is possible, whether you’re an AKA, a Black woman, or anyone who has ever been told there is a ceiling stopping you from reaching the top. There’s not, and Kamala Harris—my soror—is proof of that.”

Yvette Nicole Brown, Actress

yvette nicole brown

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Delta Pi Chapter, University of Akron; General Member, Present

“I don’t know if I can even put into words what it means for my Soror Kamala Harris to be the vice president-elect. There are so many layers. As a Black woman, I am proud. As a soror of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, I am overjoyed. As a fan of fierce, principled women I am in awe. Soror Kamala is whip-smart, talented, fearless, supremely capable, and ready. She doesn’t just meet the moment. This moment in time, in our country, has proven itself worthy of the amazing woman she is. If I’m honest, I don’t know if I ever believed that our nation could become what it needed to be in order to make a female vice president or president possible—let alone a Black, South Asian woman. But I’m a believer now!

The greatest part is that from now on, every little girl no matter her race, but especially little Black and Brown girls, will have a visual representation of what they can do and who they can be. Every dream is now possible. Representation indeed matters. I am so proud of my soror. Proud to wear the same letters and colors she wears. And so proud that my country knew that it was time for a woman of her caliber to lead. And lead she shall! And every member of the Divine Nine, not just the AKA’s will be supporting her every step of the way. Some of us will just be a bit louder and happily calling out: ‘Skee Wee!’”

Alma Adams, North Carolina Congresswoman

alma adams

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Omega Iota Omega Chapter

“The election of my sister brought tears to my eyes, tears of joy, tears bound by the hope of little girls and little boys, all over the world, who are watching history, herstory, unfold before our eyes. Now, more than ever before, my granddaughters, and other girls of color, can see that little girls with caramel, cinnamon, and mocha skin tones can become whatever they dream of becoming. Vice President-elect Harris has broken barriers as the first Black woman and first South Asian elected vice president. And, as Founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus, and a proud alumna of North Carolina A&T State University and a professor at Bennett College for over 40 years, I am thrilled that Harris went to Howard University, a historically Black college. She has substantially raised the profile of institutions that are a significant part of the fabric of our nation, and she is my AKA sister.”

Montré Moore, Entrepreneur

montre moore

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Alpha Pi Chapter, Clark Atlanta University

“I was feverishly pacing back and forth in my apartment when Kamala Harris was named vice president-elect. After the announcement, I cried tears of joy then bounced into formation like a Beyoncé music video. A light sparked inside of me; the American dream is no longer a fairy tale. Her win broke barriers for women, Californians, HBCUs, and created a spotlight on generations of amazing Black women through Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated Pinch me! This experience feels like the best dream I could ever imagine.”

Kennedy Mack, Project Manager at The King Center

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Nu Lambda Omega Chapter

“I am so ecstatic to be on the pink and green side of history. As an African American woman, an HBCU grad from Spelman College, and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, this historic victory has absolutely shown me that nothing is unachievable. “

Nikema Williams, Georgia Congresswoman-elect

nikema williams

Chi Chapter, Talladega College

“I think back to me initially running for office and someone told me that I should use the name ‘Nikki’-and not ‘Nikema’-because more people will vote for me in different parts of town if they didn’t know my name was Nikema. Now we have a vice president named ‘Kamala,’ who was literally mocked for her name. Kamala’s victory has opened so many doors for so many little girls who feel like they have been silenced or told they couldn’t be who they are. So as a Black woman in politics, this means the world.”

Krystal Franklin, The Real Senior Producer of Digital

krystal franklin

Alpha Theta Chapter, Grambling State University

“I hate that I was asleep when the announcement of Madame Vice-President Kamala Harris’ win was announced, but the moment I saw the reports, my heart swelled completely with immense pride, first as a Black woman and secondly as a graduate of a HBCU. Her victory gives hope, of course, to little Black girls, but we have yet to mention what a win of this magnitude means for Black women. We have more proof than ever of what dreaming without limitations looks like. It’s also an incredible reminder to fully take up space in the world, despite what it looks like, sounds like, tastes, and feels like.”

Eddie Bernice Johnson, Texas Congresswoman

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Alpha Xi Omega Chapter

“Leadership is a privilege. Leaders shape and mold the world. I have had the honor to work with and serve under the leadership of the first African-American president and will soon have the pleasure to do the same with the first woman and woman of color – my soror, sister, and friend, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. I am exceedingly proud that our future leader values sisterhood and service, strives by merit and culture, and wears salmon pink and candy apple green as her sorority colors – congratulations again Soror Kamala Harris on your historic victory.”

Taylor Polidore, Actress

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Alpha Pi Chapter, Clark Atlanta University

“I don’t think I have ever felt that much pride about a political election. It felt even more personal than when Obama won, and I know it’s because I’ve never had this much connection or representation. To me, her victory means that we are progressing as a nation. We have work to do, but we are actually moving forward.”

Zita Brack, Entertainment Attorney

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Alpha Pi Chapter, Clark Atlanta University

“I needed this win more than I knew. Being a Black woman often means playing the back, being overlooked and overworked, being trusted to make important decisions, but not worthy enough for the credit. This win was revolutionary. It serves as a new era for women, for Black women! I said I wouldn’t cry, but when she stepped out in her suit the tears came down… that is my Sister! She said she may be the first, but she will not be the last and those words will stick with me every single day and motivate me, especially on the days where it feels like the glass is half empty.”

Angel Lenise, ELLE Producer, and her family

angel lenise and family

Left: Ariana Pyles, Tameka Pyles, and Angel Lenise. Right: Ariana Pyles, Angela Parks-Pyles, and Angel Lenise.

“For the past four years, I feared that 2008 feeling would really be a once-in-a-lifetime. That is, until, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris told the world, ‘I’m speaking,'” – Angel Lenise, Alpha Pi Chapter, Clark Atlanta University.

“I’ve never been more proud to be a Black woman, an HBCU alum, and a woman of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated,” – Ariana Pyles, Clark Atlanta University, Alpha Pi Chapter.

“Her victory is important to me, because her new role shows that anything is possible and women can step up to the plate and do great things,” – Tameka Pyles, Eta Lambda Omega Chapter, Florida A&M University & USC.

“For my three daughters, all members of AKA and HBCU alumni who believed, participated in, and ultimately experienced the victory of the first African-American and South-Asian Female Vice President of the United States of America, they will always know ‘We are more than enough, and the preeminent choice,’ in all that they endeavor,” – Angela Parks-Pyles, Omega Delta Omega Chapter.

DeJonique Garrison, Journalist

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Alpha Pi Chapter, Clark Atlanta University

“Kamala Harris is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. She is what happens when revolution meets evolution. She stands at the intersection of class meeting culture. And we are so proud.”

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