WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) — The Howard University drumline proudly performed during Wednesday’s inauguration, representing Vice President Kamala Harris‘ alma mater.

Her sorority was also an important part of her time there and remains so to this day.

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“I’m home when I see you guys,” Harris recently told her sisters in the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.

That has been a constant for the newly inaugurated 49th vice president, who has spoken often of this distinct relationship.

“We met on the campus of Howard University in the spring of 1986. We were initiated into Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated together,” Inez Brown told CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez.

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Brown and Harris are what’s called line sisters, and Brown says they have always remained close.

“In the midst of her campaigning and during one of the most challenging times in my life, I was hospitalized, like, three times. And she, she made the time to see about me,” Brown said.

Regina Fleming is also an Alpha from a different class.

“I mean, have you ever smiled so much that your cheeks hurt?” she said.

She sees the Harris vice presidency as a vital first step.

“Yes, you are deserving. Yes, your ideas count. Yes, you’re important. Yes, you are enough and you have confidence and you can move on and you can do more with yourself,” Fleming said.

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Alpha Kappa Alpha was founded at the traditionally Black Howard University by women with an eye to community service and academic excellence.

Today, there are more than 300,000 members worldwide.

Seventy-seven-year-old Ernestine Glenn is a Golden, a sister of more than 50 years.

She says the “Stroll to the Poll” movement to get out the vote by the Divine Nine, the traditionally Black fraternities and sororities, was unifying and critical.

“It’s very important to have our voice heard, and I feel that the effort that each of us as African Americans, and especially as Greeks, I think our effort really proved very fruitful,” Glenn said.

Mary Bentley LaMar is the AKA North Atlantic regional director and has her eye clearly to the future.

“You can say the door has swung open, but it’s up to us to make sure it is never closed again,” she said. “We have to continually make sure that things are in place so that individuals are treated fairly, so that your voice is heard.”

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Howard University undergrad Madison Thibeaux happily accepts that responsibility.

“I’m very, very big on understanding the shoulders that I stand upon and wanting to set my shoulders for the next young lady or the next young man to stand upon my own. And I think Kamala’s win is a pure testament to that, to that idea,” she said.

“So congratulations Kamala. We’re really, really thrilled,” Glenn said.

The vice president’s sorority sisters said they were disappointed they couldn’t be in Washington for her historic swearing in, but all said they would be glued to the TV, proudly cheering her on.

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Hazel Sanchez