'This Is Really Happening!' A Dallas-Based Sorority Sister Celebrates Kamala Harris
When Joe Biden announced Kamala Harris as his running mate, Dallas attorney Jill Louis' phone blew up with text messages.
Harris and Louis were members of the sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha together at Howard University, an historically Black college in Washington, D.C.
"It really gave me kind of an interesting slow motion feel of, This is really happening, and it even took some time for it to wash over me — what it would mean for our country, our personal life, her personal life going forward," said Louis, who's also a member of KERA's board.
Louis and Harris' friendship started 34 years ago when they were selected to join Alpha Kappa Alpha at Howard. They met the night they both "made line," or class — which is the group of women that pledge a sorority together during the same school year semester. It was the first time the class' 38 women were brought together.
"That night was a whirlwind," said Louis.
Alpha Kappa Alpha was founded at Howard in 1908. AKA sisters pride themselves as a service organization.
Louis remembers spring of 1986.
"We spent a lot of time together working on projects, like going to a retirement home and singing and putting up a performance for them, putting together a Black history presentation," Louis said.
One of her clearest recollections is sitting on the floor of a friend's three-bedroom apartment in Washington D.C., "discussing with Kamala her mixed heritage and what it meant to have South Asian heritage and then living and growing up in the African American culture," Louis said.
They had serious discussions about the interplay of Harris' culture and how often she had to prove herself as a member of any one of the groups.
For Louis, strong leadership is incredibly important this election, for a leader "to be able to say, 'This is the way forward for our economy, our health care system, for our education system," she said.
Louis said people need direction so the nation can move forward, past the pandemic. And she has faith Harris will continue to fulfill their sorority's motto, "service to all mankind."
Got a tip? Alejandra Martinez is a Report For America corps member and writes about the economic impact of COVID-19 on marginalized communities for KERA News. Email Alejandra at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow her on Twitter @_martinez_ale.
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