Black Mid-South leaders inspired by VP Kamala Harris’ new role in the White House

Local leaders inspired by history making vice president

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Wednesday’s inauguration was historic, with Vice President Kamala Harris taking office.

Vice President Kamala Harris is breaking barriers.

She is the first woman, first African American and first Asian American to hold the position of Vice President, and it’s inspiring women across the country.

This year’s inauguration looked different than ever before, and many are inspired more than ever.

5th graders react to VP Kamala Harris taking office

“I am excited, I am full of hope,” said Tennessee State Senator Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis. “I think we’ve worked so hard and waited so long for this moment to have a woman as our vice president. A Black woman, a South Asian woman. I mean the ceilings that are being shattered right now. It’s just amazing.”

Harris is breaking barriers for women of all races and generations and is inspiring other female elected officials in the process.

Tennessee State Representative London Lamar, D-Memphis, says this moment is personal.

“As a Black female elected official here in Tennessee, the youngest female elected official currently in the general assembly, she is so inspirational to me and other young girls around the country about what you can accomplish if you put your education to the forefront, if you work hard, if you advocate on behalf of people, you too can be a vice president one day,” said Lamar.

Harris is also a graduate of Howard University and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated - making her the first HBCU grad and member of a Black Greek Letter Organization in the White House.

Fellow sorority member, Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer, says she’s inspired.

“It’s our ancestors’ wildest dreams,” said Sawyer. “As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, as a Black woman and as a woman elected, I couldn’t be more proud of her.”

All three elected officials say this is a reminder that representation matters and having women in leadership is important now more than ever.

While this is an exciting moment, many elected officials say they know this new administration won’t fix all of the country’s problems overnight, but they’re hoping for brighter days ahead.

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