PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Vice President Kamala Harris is not only the first woman to hold one of the highest offices in the country, she’s also the first to be part of a Black Greek organization.
Harris has planted a spotlight on her membership in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and the Rhode Island chapter joined together Wednesday virtually to watch her historic inauguration together.
“It’s such an exciting moment for our sisterhood,” Theta Psi Omega Chapter President Janelle Clarke- Holley said. “I am just so thankful to be alive for this moment. I am so thankful that we as an organization and a chapter have taken a moment to celebrate together.”
Harris was a student at Howard University in the 1980s when she joined the Alpha Chapter of the sorority.
Clarke-Holley said her taking the oath of office proves that all possibilities are now within reach of women of color.
“Really having her go through this and the beaming pride that she also has for our sisterhood, with her taking on this amazing office which no one has done that looks like us, is really why people are stopping to pay attention,” Clarke-Holley said.
The sorority, founded in 1908, was created for African Americans at a time when they were not allowed to join traditional sororities. The organization has more than 1,000 chapters in all 50 states and internationally, with more than 300,000 members.
“If we weren’t dealing with the times, we would be there, but we are all wearing our pink to just let her know how much we are here for her,” Clarke-Holley said. “While not present at the Capitol, we are present throughout this world cheering her on and Joe on because they are a unifying team.”
Other historic members of the sorority include Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou and the first Black woman in space, Mae Jamison.