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by Paula Saraza and Nandika Ravi

 

Gelaine Santiago | Photo Provided

 

Filipina-Canadian business owner Gelaine Santiago is on a journey of learning the ways to become an ally to the Black community. She is actively involved in the call for racial justice and allyship, while understanding she still has a lot to learn.

“I’m personally really invested in my own learning and trying to unlearn as much as I can and learn more ways to be in solidarity and an ally, with not just the black community but also indigenous communities,” Santiago told OMNI News’ Paula Saraza.

Cambio & Co, Santiago’s Filipino jewelry company, has been active in discussing and opening conversations regarding different societal issues through their Instagram profile and blog posts. The organization’s mission is to help remove anti-black racism in the Filipino community, educate its audience about privilege, white supremacy and racism. 

“For us, we invest a lot of time on creating content because, that is our strength and where we’re able to have the most impact,” Santiago said.

“By making content available on our social channels and our blog, people can have these important conversations.”

Photo from Shop Cambio&Co’s website

 

With the first anniversary of the murder of George Floyd approaching, and in the aftermath of the massive Black Lives Matter protests that took place in different parts of the world, Santiago saw an opportunity to use her platform to spread awareness and proper information that would amplify the voices of the Black community. 

“The reality is, we can’t talk about these things, the inequities of the world, about the challenges that exist in terms of our current systems and leadership, without also talking about the impacts on the Black community, indigenous community and other communities of color.”

The on-going conversations about racism injustice and systemic racism bring Santiago and her colleagues a step closer to becoming better allies to the Black community and visible minorities.

“First is learning and doing a lot of self work internally,’ she said.

“Second is holding our community and our loved ones accountable, and then third is practicing or being accomplices, whether that’s through voting, challenging unfair, discriminatory and racist policies, supporting organizations financially like Black Lives Matter, or giving your time and sharing your platform to educate others as much as possible,” Santiago added.

Photo Provided