Maia Chaka, a native of Rochester, New York recently made history as the first Black woman to ever officiate an NFL game.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s game between the New York Jets and the Carolina Panthers, an overwhelmed Chaka said;
“This historic moment to me is an honor and it’s a privilege that I’ve been chosen to represent women and women of color in the most popular sport in America, proving that I can defy the odds and overcome,” Chaka said in a video released by the NFL.
Thankful for the opportunity of shattering glass ceilings with the feat, for her, its a much bigger picture, Maia Chaka, the third on-field female official in the NFL, joining Sarah Thomas, the first permanent female game official, and Shannon Eastin, hopes she can inspire and empower others “to step outside the box and to do something different.”
“I am honored to be selected as an NFL official,” Chaka said in an official statement. “But this moment is bigger than a personal accomplishment. It is an accomplishment for all women, my community, and my culture.”
Chaka who is big about playing an active role mentorship and was selected in 2014 as a part of the league’s officiating development program, previously worked with the Pac-12, Conference USA, and the XFL as well as has served as a health and physical education teacher for students with unique needs at Renaissance Academy in Charlottesville, Virginia, since 2006.
“Maia’s years of hard work, dedication, and perseverance — including as part of the NFL Officiating Development Program — have earned her a position as an NFL official,” said Troy Vincent, Sr., NFL executive vice president of football operations way back. “As we celebrate Women’s History Month, Maia is a trailblazer as the first Black female official and inspires us toward normalizing women on the football field.”