WILBERFORCE, Ohio (WDTN) – While many Americans watched the inauguration at home this year because of COVID-19, local HBCUs are still happily celebrating the first VP woman of color in their Chucks and pearls. 

“All of us that are breaking out our chucks today, we’re nodding to vice president Harris to say you know we’re with you,” said executive vice president chief innovation officer at Wilberforce University, Tashia Bradley. “We’re walking with you. We’re standing with you. And we’re ready because we’re wearing our Chucks and those are comfortable and they’re walking shoes.”

Bradley said the swearing in of vice president Kamala Harris is monumental for everyone at the historically black college, as it represents how far the country has come in its treatment of people of color.

“HBCUs started as a response to what white supremacy was doing — not allowing black folks in this country in particular, to be educated, to have access to reading, to access to writing, to access to learning,” she explained.

She said there’s also been a heightened sense of pride on this inauguration day, knowing the new VP is a product of generations of grueling work by black Americans to advance their communities. 

Bradley said, “Vice president Harris graduating from Howard University, the Mecca, is not only important because it reminds us of the resistance, it reminds us of the work and reminds us of the people who come to these institutions and become even better and even greater and go out into the world to do really fabulous things.” 

Despite the history of inequities women and people of color in the United States have faced, Bradley said when people look at the new vice president or think of HBCUs, she hopes they remember the contributions and capabilities of historically black colleges and universities.

“HBCUs reproduce,” she said. And we don’t just produce, we produce vice presidents.”