As a Black immigrant woman, Helina Haile often felt too “foreign” in American contexts but too “American” in Ethiopian contexts as she maneuvered among the cultures.
“As a Black immigrant woman, my work in social justice is not merely professional, it’s my life,” she says. “I have witnessed the importance of representation and holding space for others. As I continue to overcome obstacles, I am inspired by the lineage of Black ancestors who fought to create the space that allows me to be here.”
To that end, she will attend Boston University School of Law starting this fall. “In everything I do, I seek to pay it forward by creating room for others who are not often represented, by using my experiences as a catalyst for education and opportunity for change for those who come after me, both inside and outside of the classroom.”
“This scholarship is a blessing to calm my fears that educational debt will constrain me. As a first-generation student, there’s a challenge in balancing financial obligations to help my family and the reality of the public interest job market,” Helina says. “Because of this scholarship, I’m more confident that my summer internships and post-graduation path will be determined by my interests, instead of solely or predominantly informed by the weight of educational debt.”
The Chris Andersen WomenLead Scholarship recognizes the need for diverse leadership in ministry, nonprofits and civic organizations and seeks to accelerate the extraordinary leadership of diverse women of faith to lead change by using their talents to educate, advocate and activate.