China Jude Featured in Women Leaders in College Sports’ Because of Title IX

Courtesy of Women Leaders in College Sports
Courtesy of Women Leaders in College Sports

Queens College Assistant Vice President for Athletics, Dr. China Jude, has been featured in Women Leaders in College Sports' Because of Title IX campaign, celebrating the 45th anniversary of Title IX.

Every week day for 45 days, Womens Leaders featured a member who, because of Title IX, has benefited personally and professionally. The feature includes a Q&A on how Title IX impacted Jude's life, how other women influenced her in her career, and how she's paying that forward.

View the feature here: China Jude #BecauseofTitleIX

 

Courtesy of Women Leaders in College Sports

Finish this sentence: "Because of Title IX..."

I am more confident to explore life without apologies.

How have the athletic and academic opportunities afforded to you because of Title IX impacted your life? Can you imagine your life without them?

In 1975, I was in the fifth grade, and I remember a classmate by the name of Valiza Nash. Valiza was someone who I looked up to because she was fearless but yet approachable. Once day after school, I saw Valiza dressed in a T-shirt and shorts tying her gym-shoe laces. I asked her where she was going. She said, "I am going to try out for basketball. You should come play too." I replied, "I can't do that; it's for boys!" Valiza shook her head and said, "Basketball is for girls too." Afterward, she walked into the gym. 

The next day, I found out that she was the only girl who tried out for the team—and that she made the team. Every home game that, I watched Valiza play. She was the best player on the team. That one experience opened my eyes to understanding that girls can do anything if just given a chance. Valiza is now the first female chief of police in her city. I will never forget the impact that Valiza made on me. Without seeing her go into that gym on that given day, I would not have had the courage to try things as a child. 

That was the defining moment for me. Starting that next year, I became fearless too. I had the opportunity to participate in junior high, high school, college, and pro sports, join the military, work for politicians, and in radio and television. Without Title IX, I would not have had the opportunity to gain this diverse skill set to support student athletes today. Now I am trying rock climbing, zip lining, snorkeling, parasailing—I am fearless without apologies! What a blessing!

 

Tell us about a woman who championed you in pursuing your goals. How did her influence inspire or affect you and your career?

It is impossible to mention one female so I am going to mention a couple: 

My mom was a corporate American woman, with no filter. Her goal was to prepare me to deal with men in the board room. She never wanted me to back down from any debate. I was never allowed to drop my head for any reason. If I was wrong, I better say it with confidence. She never pushed me to any particular career, but she would say, "If you want to be garbage(man), you better be the best damn garbage(man) around." I was not permitted to give up on anything. She also would say, "You have 24 hours to feel sorry for yourself, then you go back out there and deal with it." I remembered when I made my mom upset; my punishment was to go straight home to school, do my chores, and go straight to my room. When she saw how sports build my confidence and led to better grades, my punishments turned into going to practice or the game, straight home, do my chores then to the room. She knew to take away my sports was to take away my heart. 

My maternal grandmother Ann Brown was a college-educated, world-traveling teacher in Chicago Public Schools. She wanted me to have a worldly experience, but mom wouldn't allow me to travel on her annual trips to Africa and Europe. As an exchange, she was a stickler on the importance of reading everything, especially the Bible. She wanted me to play the piano (hated it), sing (hated it) and even learn how to teach others in her classroom and in Bible class (I liked that part). For her, it was a talent to swear at someone without using curse words (and without breaking a smile). She is the number-one reason why I returned to pursue my doctorate. I promised her that I would be a doctor and I want to keep that promise. 

My high school volleyball coach, Laura Menser Dunn: At the age of 14, she taught me how to write goals, objectives, and action steps. It was mind-blowing because I was obsessed with reaching the goals so I can track my progress.  She was one of the toughest women that I ever met. She was the only female coach I ever had in my entire athletic playing career. 

Ms. Alfreeda Goff: Do I need to say more? Every women of color must be "blessed" by Ms. Goff. When I am ready to jump off of a bridge, Ms. Goff always talk me down from it. 

Michelle Howard Vital, former President of Cheyney University of Pennsylvania and current Executive Vice President/Provost at Florida Memorial University. She gave me my first job as an athletic director and allows me to be unapologetically me. I hope that one day that I can work for her again.

 

How are you continuing to champion the next generation of women and girls in sports, and raise awareness on the importance Title IX?

I don't care who you are, who you know, or where you come from: If a female wants to speak to me about a career in athletics or in general, I am going to give them my number. Let's talk. 

I created the Women of Color Athletic Director Network, which allows ethnic minority women athletic directors to share their concerns and provide strategies to address the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women of color in the industry. The goal is to figure out how to effectively mentor the next generation of women and girls in this industry.

 

If you could send an empowering tweet to every woman and girl across the country, what would you send?

"Nothing is impossible but the impossible, which you believe to be impossible—only that is impossible." - Keith Edwards, College Volleyball Coach