Alpha Kappa Alpha is the first historically African American Greek-lettered sorority in the USA. It has also produced the first Black and South Asian woman Vice President.
As the whole nation comes together to celebrate Vice President-elect Kamala Harris for making history (she is not just the first woman to assume the position but also the first Black and South Asian one to do so), there is one community, in particular, that is celebrating harder than everyone else. That community would be the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, which Harris is a part of. She joined the sorority when she attended Howard University between the years 1981 and 1986. Her sorority sisters, both old and current, could not have been more overjoyed to celebrate her victory, CNN reports.
The timing of Harris's victory was what Michelle Arrington could call perfect. She was on a flight headed to a beach reunion with her Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority sisters on Saturday when the results of the 2020 Presidential elections were officially announced, after several grueling days of counting votes. When she landed in Richmond, Virginia, she switched on her phone to receive 72 messages all at once. She said of the moment, "I thought, 'It has to be it.'" And of course, that was it, alright. Harris had formally been declared the first Black and South Asian woman Vice President-elect in the history of the United States.
Celebrations began immediately at the airport's baggage claim area. She and her fellow sorority sister Valyncia Saunders broke into song, and the party has not really stopped ever since. For the duo as well as several of their fellow sisters, Harris's victory is immensely important. The group, who graduated more than a dozen years after the Vice President-elect did in 1986, have all followed and supported her career meticulously. Therefore, Saunders affirmed, "Her story is our story. I can't explain how fundamentally life-changing this is for every little Black and Brown girl in this country." The Alpha Kappa Alpha member currently practices law in Richmond.
Jacqueline Brooks, another member of the sorority, said the victory was especially poignant as a woman of color ended former President Donald Trump's reign of terror in the White House. She called it the "icing on the cake." She remembered the moment she and her teenage daughter realized Trump had been elected in 2016. "She looked at me and said, 'How could they pick him?' Because of the racism and the tension," Brooks explained. "As a mother, it broke my heart. But to now look up and see a Black woman as vice president, I'm able to say to her: 'Remember those tears you cried?' All we had to do was to keep fighting and believing that truth, honesty, and dignity would prevail because that's the life we want."
The fact that a sorority exists at all for women, and Black women, in particular, is quite notable. Historically, sororities have been all-White, an offshoot of fraternities. Founded in 1908, Alpha Kappa Alpha is the first historically African American Greek-lettered sorority in the United States. It was only incorporated in 1913 due to numerous challenges and roadblocks along the way, much like the road to the 46th Vice President-elect. However, Harris and her sorority represent an image of what our nation could look like, if only we build nuanced imaginations. Brooks affirmed, "That's the world we want for our children, and that's the country we want to be."