INDIANAPOLIS – On Wednesday, Kamala Harris took a historic oath, becoming the country’s first female vice president, the first Black vice president and the first South Asian vice president.
In a monumental moment during the inauguration, Harris was sworn-in by Justice Sonia Sotomayer, the first Latina Supreme Court Justice.
“To be able to say that the number two person in the world, is this woman, is a heck of a statement not only for American society, but really bodes well for the world,” said Kevin Brown, Richard S. Melvin Professor of Law at Indiana University Maurer School of Law.
“She represents so many of the groups that have been historically excluded from our society,” Brown said.
The 2020 election cycle saw record voter turnout. Brown told FOX59, “I think that the common, well-understood knowledge was if you substantially increase the voters, you will substantially increase the votes the Democrats will end up getting in elections, and I don’t think that necessarily turned out to be the case this time.”
“We had record numbers of voters but yet the Democrats barely took the Senate and that was only as result of a special election and they lost numbers in the House,” he said.
Brown said he feels this was simply expanding the electorate and being inclusive.
“Being inclusive and letting everyone in does not mean you’re making the election more democratic or more Republican,” he said. “You’re just simply making it more inclusive and that’s gotta be a win for all of us.”
However, Brown said Black voters, women specifically, were critical supporters for President Joe Biden and Vice President Harris in the 2020 election cycle.
“The Biden-Harris ticket got about 90 percent of the vote from black women and only about 79 percent from Black men,” said Brown. “That was critical to putting them over the top, so it’s not a stretch of the imagination to say that Black women were the ones that were critical in Biden’s success.”
“We do have the first woman ever elected to one of the highest offices in the land so in that sense this is a great day for women,” he said,
He said it’s also a great day for people of color, particularly women, because there’s now a role model they can look to, holding the second highest office in the U.S.
“For all of us as Americans whether you’re Republican or Democrat, not only did our democracy hold, but we had record numbers of voters and people who were in this and now we know that we can expand the electorate without biasing the electorate for the Democrats or Republicans.”
During Wednesday’s inauguration, Harris wore her signature pearls, a nod to her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha.
FOX59 spoke with Miriam Hornbuckle Grays, president of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Alpha Mu Omega Chapter in Indianapolis on Wednesday.
“Today is just a phenomenal day. Being able to witness this moment in history has been one for us. It’s like no other, for us to be able to see a woman, a Black woman become the first Vice President of the United States. What an honor,” said Hornbuckle Grays.
She said to be able to say Harris is her sorority sister is something she is extremely proud of.
“But the one thing that we’re most proud of is she has been able to be an example for those that are going to come after her. Not that may, but those that are going to come after her.”
Alpha Kappa Alpha, Hornbuckle Grays said, is a sorority with a dedication to being of service to all mankind and finding ways to make the world a better place for both children and families to live.
“We can look at her and say all these things are coming out of a woman who went to Howard University, who finished, who did all of these great things and we are so incredibly proud of her and we also just want to say if you’re looking at her, you can do it too.”