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Local Howard University grad inspired to see one of their own as US vice president

Updated: Jan. 21, 2021 at 6:56 AM EST
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Graduates from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) were beaming with pride and joy Tuesday during the Presidential Inauguration for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Harris is a graduate of Howard University located in Washington, DC. John Cash lives in Charlotte, NC, and is a Howard University graduate. He says seeing Howard University Alum Vice President Kamala Harris take the oath of office was a special moment. This is the first time an HBCU graduate has made it this far in leadership representing the United States.

“It was inspiring and just reinforces the value that HBCU’s in general provide,” 1986 Howard University graduate John Cash said. “And how Howard is always epitomized to be the Mecca within HBCU’s which we are.”

Cash says he graduated a year behind Harris, and didn’t know her personally, but knew some acquaintances of the vice president. He believes Harris’ position will put a spotlight on HBCU’s and show the world the importance of HBCU’s and how they prepare their graduates for greatness and success.

“They will toughen you up,” he said. “They will make you ready for the real world. No one is going to love you and coddle you, but also be as hard and strenuous on you at the same time, because they understand you have to be twice as good, usually just to get half as much.”

There are about 100 HBCU’s in America educating about 228,000 students. HBCUs were established when no other colleges would accept African Americans. Cash believes HBCU’s are still important and relevant. He believes having HBCU graduate Vice President Harris as the second most powerful person in the world makes a statement that HBCU’s are still relevant and can produce future leaders.

“It’s going to continue to reinforce that all everyone wants is equality and an opportunity,” Cash said. “And when you provide equal playing fields and opportunity, this is what can be achieved.”

Howard University was front and center during Wednesday’s Inauguration. The University’s Showtime Marching Band escorted Harris to the White House. Also, the university rang its school bells 49 times in honor of Harris becoming the country’s 49th vice president.

“We’re all giddy,” Cash said. “It’s very surreal, but not surprising.”

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