It is 7:00 AM and I am up early thinking about the future. My thoughts drift to Kamala Harris being selected as the Democratic vice-presidential nominee and I feel a sense of pride, both as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (AKA) and as a Black woman.
For Alpha Kappa Alpha women, being of service to others is “a serious matter” (a familiar phrase we use as AKAs). It is one of our founding principles. When Kamala Harris pledged our beloved sorority at Howard University, long before she achieved her professional accolades, she became a part of a service-driven sisterhood. Our sorority is dedicated to giving back to the community, improving the lives of others and encouraging girls and women to achieve their highest potential. Kamala Harris, both as a woman and an AKA, exemplifies this same spirit of serving others in her work today.
As an AKA, pearls have a deeper meaning to us, so you can imagine how proud we are to see Kamala wearing them throughout her campaigning. In our sorority, we refer to our sixteen founders and four incorporators as the “twenty pearls.” These bold, brilliant Black women established the first historically Black Greek-letter sorority at Howard University in 1908. Being the “first” at anything is a feat, especially for twenty Black women in the early 1900s. Being one generation removed from slavery, they did not take their college education for granted. In establishing this sorority, they put forth a mission to encourage high scholastic and ethical standards, to promote unity and friendship among college women, and to be of service to all mankind. They built this organization for Black women to bond and rise together at a time when Black people were not seen as equal.
For people of color, being the “first” is an incredible achievement because the odds are typically and historically stacked against us. This is why Kamala’s nomination is so transformative. It proves that becoming the future vice president or president of the United States is well within a Black woman’s reach. If Kamala becomes the vice president of our country, she will achieve more historical “firsts”: the first Black woman, and the first Alpha Kappa Alpha, to become second-in-command in the United States of America.
While we celebrate Kamala’s achievements, we must also acknowledge the achievements of other game-changers in the Black community who established many “firsts” – from Civil Rights icons John Lewis and Reverend C.T. Vivian, to those gone too soon like basketball legend Kobe Bryant and our “king” Chadwick Boseman. Kamala’s legacy, like these others, will further shape how this country receives the next generation of young Black leaders, which hopefully gets us closer to the goals of equity and equality for all.
Each historic “first” gets us closer to these goals, but we must continue supporting those who are breaking down these barriers because the fight is long and hard. So, the next time you see the 2020 Democratic vice presidential nominee wearing pearls, remember that it is more than a fashion statement; she is wearing a constant reminder of the resilience that our “twenty pearls” of Alpha Kappa Alpha demonstrated when they established our beloved sisterhood. As an AKA, I am proud to see Kamala wear this symbolic reminder to keep striving for a better tomorrow and I support her in this fight.
ABOUT LORI HALL
Lori Hall is the co-founder of Pop’N Creative (popncreative.com), a multicultural marketing agency that focuses on digital and social content creation, experience design and masterful storytelling. Lori is also an inspiring motivational speaker, moderator and the podcast host/creator of “38 & Dating.” Her personal mission is to create a path for women to break through today’s barriers and rise to their highest potential. Visit her at http://lorijhall.com/ and follow her at @lorijay on Instagram.