Kamala Harris' long-time friends react to historic nomination for vice president

Democratic nominee Joe Biden chose Kamala Harris as his running mate and it was historic in a number of ways, but her long-time friends said she's has been preparing for this her entire life.

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Harris is the first Black woman ever to run on a major party ticket and the first Asian-American. Several of her friends visited with ABC13's Melanie Lawson about Harris and her nomination. They said the moment may have been the first time they've truly felt valued.

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"I cried real tears, the chills, the hair raising on my arm," said Lolita Smith.

Most got to know her at Howard University, a historically Black college in Washington, D.C., and she's stayed in touch.

Another friend, Diedra Fontaine, said she felt "excitement, exhilaration, pride, all at one time."

Carly Brailey added, "I'm just pretty excited that out of everyone, she's been chosen to break the glass ceiling."

Licia Green Hills spoke about the first time Harris ran for office, as class president.

"She came in as a freshman," said Hills. "I was a junior at that point, but you immediately saw her leadership skills and qualities, even at 18 years old."

Melanie Miles, a friend of Harris, said she won that tough election.

"She turned to me and said 'You can do it.' She said 'Why not. I mean basically, if not you, then who?,'" said Miles.

The ladies agree that one thing many Americans may not have seen before is the power of HBCUs.

"Probably for the world or the country, this is something new," said Diedra Jackson, a close friend of hers. "But for those of us on this call, we see the excellence and level of professionalism and leadership that HBCUs have been producing since the beginning of time."

Expect to see an army of Black sororities and fraternities, known as the Divine Nine, step up to organize Black voters, especially Harris' AKAs.

"So this is extremely important to see the way they will be able to be mobilized," said Carla Brailey.

"The time is now," added Camille Cash. "We are a room of firsts, and how many of us have been first and it's beyond time for the U.S. to rally around the idea that a woman is more than capable of leading."
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