Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Haben Girma, an Eritrean-American, the first Deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School, and White House’s “Champion of Change” honoree visited Hoover Institution Archives on January 13, 2016. Haben was on campus for Stanford University Center for Africa Studies’ Africa Table.
During her visit Haben Girma examined the sandals worn by fighters of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (E.P.L.F.). As members of the E.P.L.F., two of her paternal uncles had died fighting for the independence of Eritrea.
Haben is a Skadden Fellow at Disability Rights Advocates, a non-profit corporation in Berkeley, California. She helped achieve a legal victory in Vermont, in National Federation of the Blind v. Scribd Inc., (a San Francisco based digital library which also hosts sixty million documents),the second case to hold that the ADA applies to e-commerce.
At Hoover Archives, Haben was able to touch and feel (some for the first time), items from Hoover’s Eritrea Subject Collection. Among the items were:
- Shida (plastic sandal shoes and symbol of Eritrean resistance) worn by fighters of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (E.P.L.F.). As members of the E.P.L.F., two of her paternal uncles had died fighting for the independence of Eritrea
- June 20th (Martyr’s Day in Eritrea) Commemorative pins
- Desk top Eritrean flags
- Eritrean flag and map placemat. Haben was surprised to find out that the placemat was created by her uncle, who resides in Sweden, in the early 1990s
- A green hat from 1993’s Referendum Commission of Eritrea (RCE)
- Shoulder badges
To learn more about Haben Girma, visit habengirma.com.
Left to right: Gregory, Haben’s assistant, Issayas Tesfamariam, Haben Girma, and Ariane Khalfa, Program Coordinator for the Center for African Studies.
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