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Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Sisters In Broward Cheer On Vice President Harris At Drive-In Inauguration Party

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Caitie Switalski Muñoz
/
WLRN
Broward County members of the nation's oldest Black sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, celebrate Vice President Harris on Wednesday at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center.

Broward County members of the nation's oldest Black sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., came out to especially celebrate their fellow sorority sister, Vice President Harris alongside President Biden.

About 50 people Wednesday, some camped out in chairs and some in their cars, watched the inauguration ceremony for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on a large screen outside the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center on Sistrunk Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.

The drive-in watch party opened with the song "Lift Every Voice And Sing," commonly called the Black National Anthem.

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Vice President Harris is the nation's first woman, first Black person, and first Indian-American sworn in to the role. She is also Caribbean-American.

Some of Harris' sorority sisters in Broward County, from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, were there to cheer her on; dressed in their signature pink and green colors as well as pearls and Chuck Taylors. Harris pledged the nation's oldest Black sorority at Howard University.

"Kamala Harris is my sorority sister," one group's sign read.

Harris was sworn in shortly before noon, by Justice Sonia Sotomayor. One woman dressed in pink there, Elayne Samuels, mouthed the words to Harris' oath of office during the swearing in.

"It was moving and yet, just so memorable," Samuels said. "I went back to my mother ... and how much that they wanted us to have an education and how important it was to go to college. It just took me through all of that. And seeing her — seeing her standing there and representing an organization that I'm a part of — I just said 'It's amazing.' It's just so wonderful. It represents to me the wholeness of America ... It just filled me with so much joy, and I think for my granddaughters that's gonna be the case."

Everyone who came wore masks. Some stayed in their cars and watched the giant screen from parking spaces, while others mingled at food trucks and stood under palm trees to get out into the fresh air.

The regional manager at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, Makiba Foster, said it was the first in-person event at the library since the COVID-19 pandemic started last year.

"I have parents that lived through segregation and so the things that we're realizing now, it's just wonderful that they can see that — but I'm also a part of it," she said. "So I'm just very thankful."

AKA sister E. Elizabeth Pinnock spoke to the crowd about this moment made her feel.

"This is proof, friends, that not only do our Black lives matter, but our Black votes matter as well," she said.

Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness came to visit the event in his district. He reiterated the notion that for him, to see Vice President Harris to be the first woman, first Black person, first Indian-American sworn into the job — and also a fellow Jamaican-American is a powerful statement.

"Oh my God. It means so much to me and to all our children," he said. "It says that the possibility of America is real."