TAMPA, Fla. — When Vice President Kamala Harris took the oath of office, she became a woman of many firsts. The significance of her swearing in on Inauguration Day wasn’t lost on people across the Tampa Bay area.
“You know, Barack Obama opened the door, but women really needed that push upward, and this is really going to do it,” said Elaine Bryant, president of Gamma Theta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Harris is the first woman, first Black American and first South Asian American elected Vice President of the United States. She’s also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Bryant called today a full circle moment for their sorority.
“Women of color are expected to ascend to notable positions and beyond while continuing to be of service to all mankind, which is our motto, and since 1908, our legacy of leadership has positioned us to be the first on many levels, and that’s what we have strived to do,” said Bryant. “So of course, this is a proud moment for us and a proud moment for all of the Divine 9 and all the other sororities and fraternities that belong to the same group that we do.”
“It’s really broken a lot of barriers, a lot of glass and bamboo ceilings,” said Beejal Thakore.
Thakore is the vice president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association Tampa Bay. She says it’s a great day for their organization to see a woman of color come into such a powerful position. Harris is the highest ranking woman ever to serve in the U.S. government.
“This is not a Democratic or Republican win. This is a win for all Americans,” said Thakore. “We can look on the TV for a source of hope, dreams, and a source of encouragement when you work hard and you do good and you keep fighting the good fight, anything is possible.”
The White House website indicates the firsts for Harris were the case with other offices she has held, stating “she is, however, determined not to be the last.” A note echoed by some people hoping others now see a door of opportunities open for them, too.
“I have a soon-to-be 8-year-old daughter, and she’s going to look on the TV. She’s going to look to Kamala Harris as a source of strength, inspiration. She’s going to say ‘yes, that can be me one day,” said Thakore.