Area Black leaders express pride over historic inauguration
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wednesday’s inauguration of President Joseph Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris was historic in many ways, from the flags across the mall instead of people because of the coronavirus to the first woman, Black person, and South Asian being sworn into the Vice Presidency.
WWAY’s Sydney Bouchelle spoke with Black leaders in the Cape Fear who say watching now Vice-President Kamala Harris take the oath of office gave them the same sense of pride when Barack Obama was elected in 2008.
More than 200 years and 49 vice presidents later, the United States will be calling a Black, South-Asian woman Madam Vice President for the first time in history.
Kamala Harris took the oath of office Wednesday morning, shattering the glass ceiling for women and minorities.
“To see now the first African-American female now going into the White House when there have been many women that have run on tickets but not successfully win, to me is a very historic moment,” New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield said.
Barfield has taken part in breaking molds in the Cape Fear as he is one of the first Black men to serve as a county commissioner since the 1898 massacre — second only to his father.
Barfield says he hopes this moment in history shows people everywhere they can truly be what they want to be.
“You know, I truly believe the best form of empowerment is being able to see someone that looks like you in a seat of authority, in a seat of leadership,” he said. “You know that’s one reason my father ran for office, one reason that I did and I’m sure one of the reasons that Kamala Harris has run as well.”
7th Congressional District Democratic Party Chair Sonya Patrick says Wednesday’s historic inauguration was not about a political party.
“Let’s work together,” Patrick said. “It’s about America. United we stand and divided we fall as a nation.”
Community Activist Evelyn Adger says this is a representation for change to come.
“In the back of your mind, you may think that you can’t do it because you don’t see people who look like you actually doing it,” Adger said. “She [Kamala Harris] has opened the door for so many of those who may want to aspire to be the president or the vice president one day. Looking at her, they can say ‘I can do that. That can be me one day.'”
Another historic moment included Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman becoming the youngest by far of the poets who have read at presidential inaugurations at 22 years old.