Aubrion “Aubri” James is a fifth-year senior on the Southern University Lady Jags Softball team. She is also in her first year of graduate school pursuing a Master of Business Administration. Originally from Madison, Alabama, Aubri has been playing softball since she was five years old and in her free time she loves to read, worship, and get “dolled” up. She is currently an AFH Intern.
On both sides of my family both of my grandmother’s had 10+ siblings (majority sisters). My paternal grandmother died a year before I was born. Her name was Bertha James and before she died, she told my parents that they would have a baby girl. They say I get my “mouth” from my grandmother because she always spoke her mind. Even though I never got to meet her, she left behind many strong sisters. These women I get to call my great aunts have accomplished amazing things. They were educators, leaders, and held positions of power. My aunts on my dad’s side always pushed me to further my education and I may not have understood then, but now I realize that women like themselves did not have the opportunity to learn back in the day. They continued to defy stereotypes and push for something they knew they were capable of obtaining. My maternal grandmother, Ruthie Robinson, died when I was 13 years old, so I had more time with her. Ruthie was a caretaker. My most clear memories of her were when we would come down on Sundays and she always had dinner ready for us and the house was always clean. She was the glue that held our family together. As women I do not think we get enough credit for having traits that keep a lot of shows going.
Women’s History Month is essential in today’s world. We talk a lot about diversity and making sure that organizations are being equally inclusive, but we do not talk a lot about representation. Being a black woman, in the sport of softball particularly, growing up I did not see very many black girls on a team. I spent my career always being one of two maybe three, if not the only, black girl on the teams I played on. According to my faith, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Representation can help a person see that someone like them is doing it, so they can too because they really can as long as they have Christ by their side. History needs to be documented, so that young girls can see how strong we are as a species. We have overcome many gender biases in all aspects of life, and we can continue to leave our mark as women.
Women can literally do anything. We cook, we clean, and we even play sports including football! Society sometimes looks at women’s sports as not entertaining and use that for the reason why we should not be afforded the same opportunities as men. I truly believe that we work just as hard as men. We have early mornings and late nights. We have injuries. So, my question is why can’t we have our own locker rooms, why can’t we have weights, and get the treatment that men get? When people are set up for success, I believe they are more likely to succeed. Being a fifth-year senior in my sport I want to applaud all women because we always find a way to make it happen with or without anyone’s help. I have seen firsthand gender inequality, and every team that I have ever been a part of found a solution…on our own.
My advice to our community is to continue to give recognition to our special accomplishments. Help women to know that they are valued and appreciated for everything they do. Women, let’s continue to call out inequality and bias. Do not be afraid to bring to light any injustices that you face because the only way that we can gain the respect we deserve is by standing up and speaking out.