It was a historic day for Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority sisters Wednesday as one of their own, Kamala Harris, was sworn in as vice president.
“It is with a great deal of pride that a member of my sorority has been elected to the position of vice president of the United States,” long-time AKA sorority member Irene McCollum said.
McCollum said Harris perfectly embodies the sorority's theme of “service to all mankind.”
“Kamala has shown that through her career, before she became vice president,” McCollum said. “She has high ethical standards, is scholarly and is all the things we stand for as a sorority.”
Like McCollum, Liz Zimmerman Keitt was all decked out in her sorority pearls and colors on Wednesday. Even her face mask had her sorority’s colors.
“Kamala is not only an AKA member but a Black, Asian American,” Keitt said. “That is for everybody. It doesn't just represent Black. She represents everybody.”
Keitt has been a member of AKA since 1958, during her second year at then-Claflin College.
True to her sorority, Harris was sworn in wearing a strand of pearls in honor of AKA.
The sorority even named Jan. 20 "Kamala D. Harris Day."
Harris has been a member of AKA since 1986, when she graduated from Howard University. She frequently can be seen wearing a pearl necklace and earrings at public events.
AKA was the first African-American Greek-letter sorority, and its founders are referred to as the “Twenty Pearls.” Pearls have long been the emblem of the sorority, and every new member is given a badge with 20 pearls.
Keitt, a member of Orangeburg City Council, expressed her excitement about President Joe Biden’s administration and says its priority should be unity.
“We are very wide apart now,” she said. “It is going to take a little while, but I am confident it will be done because of the unity in his speech inspiring love for all.”
“She and Biden are going to do great things,” Keitt continued. “They are going to pull us together. We don't need much pulling, just a little bit. They are going to do that.”
McCollum said one of the administration’s priorities should be the coronavirus pandemic.
“Of course, there are so many things important right now,” she said. “The economy: We have so many people out of work, so many homeless, so many children who are hungry and so many not able to go to school and who live in remote areas where they can't get things they need.”