On March 5th, history was made when the NFL declared that Rochester native, Maia Chaka, would become the first Black woman ever named to the league’s officiating staff.
When the announcement was made, Maia didn’t believe the news.
“I thought I was being punk’d,” Chaka said. “I didn’t think it was real at all. I was totally shocked.”
Maia Chaka was born at home on Frost Avenue in Rochester. Her mother gave birth to her in her bedroom and still resides there.
“I still sleep in that room when I come back to visit to this day,” Chaka said.
According to Maia, her experience growing up in Rochester molded her for the spotlight she finds herself in today. A graduate of Edison Tech High School, Chaka had to navigate an institution in transition — an exercise that built resiliency.
“I may have had a different principal every year at that school,” Chaka said. “I remember going to school and having to be self-motivated with what I wanted to do.”
Jacob Scott is the current principal at Edison Tech High School. Maia’s rise to the highest level of her profession doesn’t shock him at all.
“I wasn’t surprised,” Scott said. “She’s always been motivated and was extremely active when she was here at Edison when she was a student.”
Maia’s self-motivation and resiliency would be tested during her senior year at Edison. Chaka, a talented guard on Edison’s basketball team, suffered…