Stroll to the Polls: AKAs Speak Out on Supporting Soror Kamala Harris
The organization has a long tradition of being politically active
If a picture is indeed worth a thousand words, the viral photo of Black women marching in unison to the polls spoke volumes. Lawrence Ross, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and author of The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities, posted the picture with a simple caption: “The GOP has no idea what’s about to happen to them.”
Many believe the surge of support from Black Greek-letter sororities is rooted in the historic nature of Sen. Kamala Harris’ vice-presidential nomination and the fact that she is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Not only is Harris a member, but she was also initiated in the Alpha chapter at Howard University. While the photo’s caption may have aptly described the force of Black women supporting one another, the power of this specific group as a voting bloc could never be mistaken. Black women remain one of the largest demographics of American voters. During the 2012 election, 83% of registered Black women cast their ballot compared with 73% of all non-Black women. In 2016, 64% of Black women said they voted compared with 54% of Black men. And, of college students, young Black women have the highest voter turnout.
“We’ve always known what’s at stake,” says Sheleda Doss, the chief operating officer for the Illinois Department of Transportation and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha. “We’ve termed it ‘stroll to the polls’ because it’s a new time, but Black women have been strolling to the polls before we even could vote. Shoot, Black women strolled to the polls to get the vote!” While Doss celebrates that this is a major accomplishment for her soror, she is clear that Black women have always participated in the political process. “Seeing a Black woman at this high level, in our lifetime, has mobilized many of us in this moment, but it’s important to remember that Black women have always voted for our interests. Being political isn’t anything new to us.”
This seems to be the sentiment of most of Harris’ sorors. On one hand, there is indescribable joy and immense pride when considering that a Black woman and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority could…