The sister that made the leap: Alpha Kappa Alpha celebrates Kamala Harris’s Vice Presidency

By Jamilah Lewis, Staff Reporter

Two weeks ago America inaugurated its 49th and first female Vice President, Kamala Harris, who makes history as the highest-ranking woman of color in the nation. One group celebrating her success are her sisters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., was founded on the campus of Howard University on Jan. 15, 1908. Vice President Harris was initiated into the sorority at Howard University in 1986.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the first Black sorority founded in the United States, now spans across the world with over 300,000 members globally. 

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Jacari Henderson is the president of the Gamma Kappa Omega chapter located in Carbondale which was chartered on March 15, 1941. 

Henderson said an AKA woman has pushed her and motivated her to be an advocate for her community.

“AKA means so much just as a woman and also as a Black woman because AKA was the first Black Greek lettered sorority that was founded in the U.S.,” Henderson said. “We’re the first to start the work in our community as far as the ladies and we’ve been around for a number of years and it’s just been a really great and humbling experience to be a part of such an illustrious organization.”

Henderson said she is excited for Vice President Harris and her professional endeavors.

“She’s been a barrier breaker. I think her even being in the White House sends a clear message to women of color specifically, just being that representation matters and I think with her being in the office it has really reinvigorated fire,” Henderson said. “It has really been heartwarming to see her journey to the White House.”

Twenty-one-year-old Jasmyne E. McCoy is the International Second Vice President of AKA Sorority, Inc. in the Lambda Upsilon chapter at Harvard University. McCoy has been around the women of AKA most of her life and said they’ve been role models.

“We have five different targets: we have HBCU for life,  women’s healthcare and wellness, building economic legacy, the arts, global impact, and those are some of the things that we really care about as AKAs,” she said. 

The chapter works on things related to mental health, financial literacy, study halls for finals, voter registration and many other things with other chapters in the Boston area.

The sorority can’t endorse a candidate, but they do their best to make it known they supported Vice President Harris throughout the election.

“She is a woman of Alpha Kappa Alpha, but she stands on her own two feet,” McCoy said. “We recognize the work that she has put in for years with her job as a prosecutor and we understand and see her as a true politician. Someone who understands what the position holds and has respect for [it].”

McCoy said as a Black woman, Harris’s role is a major leap of progress in representation and women’s empowerment.

Both chapters had watch parties for Inauguration Day. The Lambda Upsilon chapter held a watch party for the inauguration and the Gamma Kappa Omega chapter held a watch party for the festivities after the inauguration.

The women of AKA are excited to see what their sister and the rest of the Biden-Harris administration have in store for the next four years.

“There is no one that has done this before her and she is just stepping out on faith that she is going to be able to succeed, survive and thrive in the position Alpha Kappa Alpha prepared her for.” McCoy said.

Staff reporter Jamilah Lewis can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @jamilahlewis

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