February 2021, News & Features

Raleigh HBCU students elated by Harris’ election

RALEIGH, N.C. — HBCU students in Raleigh are extremely happy and hopeful after the election of Kamala Harris.

Harris, who was sworn into office on January 20, 2021, breaks many barriers. She is the highest-ranking female official in U.S. history. She also is the first African American to hold the office of vice president.
Harris also happens to be of Caribbean descent. Students were excited to hear Harris say, in her inauguration speech, “We are bold, fearless, and ambitious.”

Malique Webb, a junior majoring in public health from St. Catherine, Jamaica – which also happens to be the birthplace of Kamala Harris’ father – said, “Her being a black woman empowers me as a young black female to always aim high despite my color, race and background.”

Others described their feelings as being hopeful about the future for present and incoming HBCU students. Harris, a graduate of Howard University, is also the first HBCU graduate to become vice president.

“I am proud because many people take HBCUs for granted,” said Jordan Rozier, a business administration senior from Raeford, North Carolina. Rozier said she feels strongly that Vice President Harris will have a big impact on students enrolling in HBCUs in the future.
Vice President Harris has also been an inspiration to the black male community. “It makes me feel great even though I am not a female, as it shows that this country is progressing and maturing,” said Jerome Boyce, a senior computer science senior at Shaw University. Boyce, who is Mr. Shaw University 2021, is from Bridgetown, Barbados.

He also expressed pride that Harris has roots in the Caribbean.
“As a black male HBCU student who is also the descendant of immigrant parents, it lets me know that it is possible to achieve regardless of my race or creed,” Boyce said.

Most people interviewed at Shaw University shared similar sentiments about the new vice president. Clayte La Motte and Ian Finley, both male seniors majoring in business and both from Nassau, Bahamas, feel very good about the election and said they were happy that citizens chose the best person for the job

Finley added that he hopes to see a Senate run by someone who is impartial but knows when to pick a side. “I’m excited to tell my daughter or any young female the story of Kamala Harris,” said Finley.

Finley, a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., also said Harris’ election helps raise the profile of black fraternities and sororities. Harris is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

“My family is my beloved Alpha Kappa Alpha, our Divine Nine, and my HBCU brothers and sisters,” he said.

While Saint Augustine students do not anticipate many immediate changes, they expressed hope of seeing unity, equity and equality and more civil and social rights in place.

— Tia Jones