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Dr. Saundra Ardrey reflects on first woman of color inaugurated as Vice President

Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 3:20 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Dr. Saundra Ardrey is a political science instructor at Western Kentucky University. Dr. Ardrey has met Rosa Parks, her father marched with MLK and on Wednesday she added another accolade to her historical experiences--witnessing the first female as well as the first woman of color to be inaugurated as Vice President of the United States.

Ardrey spoke with 13 News about what this experience meant to her.

Q: “WE JUST SAW THE HISTORIC INAUGURATION OF PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN AND KAMALA HARRIS. AS A WOMAN OF COLOR AND A WOMAN IN GENERAL. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU TO SEE THIS HISTORIC MOMENT IN HISTORY?”

Dr. Ardrey: “I was excited that we have this first woman of color. And that, for me speaks to both my, my gender being a woman, it also speaks to me being an African American. And so I know how historic that is. But I was also very much impressed that we elected Barack Obama as the first African American as President. So it does let me know that when we work together when we are unified when we see that we have a common goal, that we can be successful, we can be inclusive. And so that really gives me hope for the future.”

Q: “PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN SPOKE ABOUT UNITY TODAY, WHAT WE SAW AT THE CAPITOL ON JANUARY 6, WAS A HARSH MOMENT IN REALITY FOR AMERICA. WHAT DO YOU THINK THE TONE THAT WAS SET TODAY IS GOING TO MEAN FOR OUR FUTURE?”

Dr. Ardrey: “Our unity starts today with the peaceful transition of power. And I think the message that Biden is telling us is that he really does want to work across the aisle. And at this point in time, I think the republican party also sees it is to the advantage of all of us, that we have so many problems social issue problems, social justice, we’ve got the pandemic that impacts all of us. And so I believe that the political parties understand that their destiny is also tied up with the success of some of the programs that Biden wants to put through with the help of Congress.”

Q: “YOU’VE ATTENDED EVERY INAUGURATION SINCE 1989. BEING A PROFESSOR AT WESTERN, YOU TAKE YOUR STUDENTS TO DC. HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT NOT BEING THERE AND HAVING TO SEE THINGS VIRTUALLY?”

Dr. Ardrey: “We have not missed an inauguration since 1989. We always have tickets, we were able to sit up front, sometimes we’re in the mall. And so that is a special experience of being unified, of being together, that you are really American. It is a little bit different this time because we’ve had to do it virtually. And so I missed that. I missed that camaraderie. I missed that coming together. But as I watched all of the diversity on the dais, as I’ve watched all of the messages of unity, I still got that sense that all are welcome in this country. And that’s the sense that you get by being at the inauguration. And they’ve done a really good job in making sure that we feel that virtually.”

“Look how two weeks ago, we were in such despair. Terrible photos and pictures of the mob taking over the capitol, the capitol was damaged, windows were broken. In just two weeks ago, we are showing the world that democracy survives that structurally, in terms of the physical condition of the capitol, we’ve redone that we are rebuilding our belief in democracy. So the takeaway for me is that yes, we are going to struggle, that yes, we are going to have differences. And I think also that our words matter. Our leadership should now know that what they say has consequences. And so we are very careful. We know that our democracy will bounce back. We are a work in progress. I’m not sure that you ever get to that point, but the process is the success,” said Dr. Ardrey.

Dr. Ardrey also says we shouldn’t forget this is also a historic moment for Kamala Harris’ husband being the first second gentleman.

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