Young Leaders in Public Service with Detroit City Councilmember Gabriela Santiago-Romero
Date & Time
LocationThis is a Virtual Event.
Open to all Ford School students.
Join P3E for a discussion with Detroit City Councilmember Gabriela Santiago-Romero.
About our speaker
Gabriela Santiago-Romero is serving her first term as a Detroit City Councilmember, representing the 6th District. She is an immigrant from Mexico, raised in Southwest Detroit and is an active organizer in Michigan. She has spent her whole life fighting for justice and brings her core value of putting people first to local government.
Gabriela’s love for her community has led her through many paths that include supporting young girls of color through leadership programs such as Girls Making Change, leading statewide policy change with local elected officials like Senator Chang, and recently directly serving constituents’ needs by connecting them to resources and creating mutual aid paths in collaboration with other leaders in the community.
When the pandemic, COVID-19, struck her community Gabriela connected with community leaders to form a mutual aid fund that has created lifelines of resources to people hardest hit by the COVID crisis. This resource allows low-income families to pay bills, and secure food during this time.
In her own words “Growing up an immigrant in poverty in Southwest Detroit has forced me to see and learn things the hard way. I know our family isn’t the only one in our community that has experienced these struggles. Too many families in our community have struggled to make ends meet, have been pushed out of their homes by foreclosures, and have struggled to get to jobs or school due to the lack of reliable public transportation.”
As a dedicated leader, Gabriela became Student Union President during graduate school at the University of Michigan - School of Social work. She was the first in her family to pursue higher education and graduate with a Master’s degree. After grad school, she continued her education at Harvard Kennedy School in the Executive Education Certificate Program in which she received training from qualified social justice leaders while also gaining a global perspective on issues that impacted communities like hers.
Gabriela is currently the Policy and Research Director at a state-based movement organization. She pushes for statewide policy change that centers community’s basic needs in partnership with multi-racial grassroots organizations in Michigan. As an organizer Gabriela values the importance of relationships; that is what Detroit has taught her--that with community anything is possible.
Gabriela adds “our community is resilient and we always have each others’ backs. Whether it’s putting together backpack drives for the little ones starting school or coming together to support our neighbors that have lost their home to a fire or foreclosure, we show up for each other."