Before Kamala Harris was vice president-elect of the United States, she was an undergrad at Howard University in Washington DC. During her senior year in 1986, Kamala pledged to Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA), one of the oldest historically Black sororities in the country. On Jan. 15, Harris, who remains a devoted alum, shared an Instagram post in honor of the sorority’s 113th annual Founder’s Day and took some time to reminisce on her college years. “For me, Howard is home,” Kamala captioned the post. “It’s where I ran my first ever race for elected office. It’s where I joined my beloved sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha — and I’m so excited to be celebrating our 113th Founders’ Day today!”
“You must remember: you are never alone.”
AKA is a member of the Divine Nine, an organization composed of nine historically Black Greek-letter sororities and fraternities that seek to promote fellowship, solidarity, and progress. Among Kamala’s fellow sorority alumni are Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Rosa Parks, Alicia Keys, Ava DuVernay, Coretta Scott King, Ella Fitzgerald, and Phylicia Rashad. “The sororities and fraternities that make up the Divine Nine were founded on the principle of scholarship and the principle of faith fueling our responsibility in service to all mankind,” she said at the Divine Nine Virtual Rally on Oct. 29, 2020.
In addition to being part of such an influential organization, the vice president-elect was grateful for the opportunity to explore varying subjects — from politics to poetry — during her college years and still have time to “hang out” with friends. “For me — that meant going down to the National Mall to protest apartheid in South Africa, becoming president of an economics club, and joining the debate team,” she said, reminding us that, even before she became a household name, she was using her time to fight for the rights of minority groups and those in need.
Looking back on her undergrad years and her time as an AKA member, Kamala had one message of hope to share with those hoping to follow in her footsteps. “Along the way, Howard taught me that while you will often find that you’re the only one in the room who looks like you, or who has had the experiences you’ve had, you must remember: you are never alone,” she wrote. “Your entire Bison family will be in that room with you, cheering you on, as you speak up and speak out. We’re with you every step of the way.”