Joe Biden won the presidency. His running mate, Kamala Harris, won a place in history: She’s the first African American and South Asian American woman to be elected vice president.
Experts and activists from both communities predicted that Harris, the daughter of an Indian mother and Jamaican father, would rally minority voters and keep them engaged in the political process. Since her nomination, Harris has received an outpouring of support from Indian Americans and African Americans.
On the campaign trail, Harris worked to appeal to Black leaders and voters through conversations at barber shops and historically Black colleges and universities. She attended Howard University, an HBCU, and was a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, which mobilized behind her and could be spotted at rallies.
When the news broke, the AKA board of directors was meeting over Zoom and paused to “celebrate and thank God for letting us to live to see this moment,” according to International President Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover. Cheers, congratulations, and thanks to God poured out from the group as Glover spoke from Nashville, Tennessee.
“It’s a proud moment not just for Alpha Kappa Alpha, not just for the divine nine, it’s a proud moment for women around the world, for Black women,” Glover said.
Chicago resident Shanya Gray, 38, was upstairs in her bedroom watching TV when the news broke of Biden’s win. She screamed, and her two sons – 5 and 10 – ran upstairs with her mother and husband.
“I was jumping up and down, and my family was jumping up and down,” she said.
Gray is originally from Barbados and came to the U.S. for college. Gray, an assistant professor and counselor at a community college, said it gives her “goosebumps to know that there will be a Black woman who is an immigrant, who also has family of West Indian descent,” as vice president.
“You don’t see this very often in this country, and it reminded me of the potential for myself, my family – for little Black girls everywhere who can see for the first time someone who looks like them, who they can aspire to be,” she said.
“This is a powerful, emotional moment for us,” said Aimee Allison, founder and president of She The People. “To have a Black woman on the top of the ticket for a party in which we have been largely up until now the unacknowledged, the backbone, the workhorse, the powerhouse vote.”
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SOURCE: USA Today, N’dea Yancey-Bragg