What it Means to Rowan’s Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority That One of Their Sisters, Kamala Harris, Will Be the First Female U.S. Vice President

Top of Bunce Hall with a rose in the foreground.

Lambda Rho chapter Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated at Rowan has a huge reason to celebrate because starting on Jan. 20 one of their own will be working as the highest-ranking female elected official in U.S. history.

When Kamala Harris swears into the White House in January, she will make history by becoming the first woman to be United States Vice President as well as the first person of color to hold that position.

This is especially exciting for Rowan’s members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Lambda Rho chapter because Kamala Harris is a sister.

Harris joined the sorority back when she attended Howard University in the 1980s. We spoke with the president of Rowan’s Alpha Kappa Alpha, Arielle Gedeon, as well as sister Dyone Payne, about what it means for one of their sorority sisters to win the vice presidency.

When asked how it feels to have a member of her sorority win the White House, Arielle responded, “Kamala Harris to serve as the madam vice president is very exciting. One thing that is evident is that we want to support her and we are very proud of her accomplishments.” Dyone added that the news left her “speechless.”

Arielle poses next to a Rowan campaign backdrop in her Alpha Kappa Alpha attire.
Arielle poses in her Alpha Kappa Alpha attire.

Arielle saw the Biden/Harris victory as something bigger than what it appeared to be. We asked if she feels a sense of pride that Kamala Harris will be not only the first woman but the first person of color to be vice president. Her response was, “Yes, it’s such a great accomplishment and one of the things that comes to mind is how many little girls around the United States that she’s inspiring by her accomplishments.” 

Dyone had very similar feelings about this victory for Black Americans and the level of inspiration generated from it. She explained, “Over time she has done the work, made the connections and projected hope onto other Black girls by displaying that you can be anyone you want to be. No job or task is too big or too small for you to obtain or uphold.”

When the news of the projected Biden/Harris victory first broke, it was celebration time for Alpha Kappa Alpha. When asked about the reaction of her and her sisters to the news, Arielle recalled, “My sister, she was calling my name from the living room. She [was] watching on TV and she told me about the addition of the electoral votes that put Joe Biden ahead and it was very exciting!” 

Dyone was certainly not alone with that feeling in the Black community. She went as far as to say when she heard the news, “My heart dropped because it felt like a weight was lifted off of my own shoulders.” 

Dyone poses at an unrelated event.
Dyone poses in front of the Student Center.

“This moment feels surreal because not only is a woman [elected] but a Black woman, a woman of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated,” Dyone added. 

It would be ignorant to blindly support a candidate based on a connection like Greek life, but Arielle made sure she knew exactly what she was supporting and what issues this new administration will likely give attention to.

When asked in what way she thought there will be tangible change in America with this new administration, Arielle’s response was: “The area of education is a really big deal. I know for a fact that President-elect Joe Biden will place solid people in his cabinet, especially thinking about the secretary of education. That’s a big deal and when you think about New Jersey, we have a new secretary of higher education and I hope that person will work closely with whomever is appointed as the new secretary of education for Joe Biden’s cabinet.”

Sisters Ayala Gedeon, Dyone Payne, and Arielle Gedeon (from left to right) pose at an Alpha Kappa Alpha event.
Sisters Ayala Gedeon, Dyone Payne, and Arielle Gedeon (from left to right) stand together at an Alpha Kappa Alpha event.

This victory is not only huge for Alpha Kappa Alpha, but for women all over the world who have a passion for leadership. 

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Story by:
Luke Garcia, junior music industry major

Photos submitted by:
Arielle Gedeon, Ayala Gedeon and Dyone Payne

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