As of noon on Jan. 20, Kamala Harris made history as the first Black woman and woman of South Asian descent to be sworn in as vice president of the United States. Following her historic win, three of her Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority sisters — including Lorri Saddler, Jill Louis, and Lisa Jackson — sat down for a virtual interview with Good Morning America's Robin Roberts to discuss the impact of Kamala's vice presidency on historically Black colleges and universities. Kamala's alma mater Howard University is one of the oldest HBCUs in the country, and AKA is one of the oldest historically Black sororities, making her inauguration as vice president momentous on numerous levels.
"This moment is so important, Robin," Lori said. "Historically Black colleges and universities are finally getting the respect and recognition they so richly deserve. Since their inception, these institutions have produced trailblazers and difference-makers throughout history. This moment, Robin, amplifies the academic excellence of HBCUs, and this moment further attracts students to historically Black colleges and universities. We know that these institutions have produced graduates that have been in industry at every level, and the accomplishments of madame vice president elect only amplify the HBCU standard."
On Jan. 15, just a few days before the presidential inauguration, Kamala joined her sorority sisters in a Zoom call to celebrate AKA's 113th Founder's Day. "[Kamala] shared that we are her center, and that was so special that she said that because all feel that same way about each other. That truly describes our bond," Lori said of the conversation. When asked why the three women were wearing pearls, Kamala's signature accessory, during the interview, Jill said, "Pearls are forged in oysters, and oysters come from irritation. They come from challenge, so they represent resilience, and that's who we are as Alpha Kappa Alpha women."
Looking forward, Lisa said she believes Kamala's "genuineness, authenticity" will make her an effective vice president and leave a lasting impact on both alumni and incoming students at HBCUs. "She has been for the people, is for the people, and it's amazing that America gets to see that in her."