OAKLAND (KPIX) — Derreck Johnson, founder of the Home of Chicken & Waffles restaurant in Oakland, is packing his bags for a trip to Washington D.C.

“I’m going to the inauguration, I leave tomorrow morning,” Johnson said.

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He’s giving few details about his itinerary but he does know he has a personal invitation to the presidential inauguration. Johnson is not a name dropper. He says he grew up with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

“We call each other cousins even though we are not blood related,” Johnson said. “We’ve been friends since we were 16 years old so, for 40 years-plus, we’ve been very close.”

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“To now know that this person is the second most powerful woman in the world for the United States is overwhelming and I’m very very proud. Words don’t even describe how proud I am,” Johnson added.

So proud he had a mural of Kamala painted on a wall inside his restaurant. He also has a menu item named after her.

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“It’s called ‘The Kamala’ … It’s collard greens, chicken lasagna, green salad and a choice of dessert and drink,” Johnson said.

Although Washington D.C. and all 50 states are bracing for possible inauguration-day violence, Johnson says he isn’t worried .

“I feel very safe to be honest. I feel very very safe. I’ve been told we are going to have extreme amount of security to the point I don’t even know anything about the trip. So people ask me what are you doing and I have no idea. I just found out about the flight information. I just got the address and I have to be there at a certain time.” Johnson said.

He also knows this inauguration won’t come with the usual pomp and circumstance.

“I went to Obama’s second inauguration and so, of course, that was hundreds of thousands of people. I think this is going to be very small — intimate.”

Johnson says he is sure of one thing.

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“At the end of the day you know you have a very good person in that office.”

Juliette Goodrich