CHICAGO (CBS) – A Chicago woman who was among the concert-goers killed at the Indiana State Fair over the weekend was remembered Sunday as a dedicated advocate for gay women’s health care.
Christina Santiago, 29, was a program manager at the Howard Brown Health Center, which provides health and services for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Admirers and friends gathered for an emotional memorial.
“She was a fierce advocate, she was as brilliant as she is beautiful,” the center’s CEO, Jamal Edwards, said.
Santiago had been excited about attending Saturday’s Sugarland concert at the Indiana State Fair, he said.
But those expectations turned tragic Saturday evening when the stage set up at the fairgrounds in Indianapolis collapsed onto the crowd, killing Santiago and four others. Dozens of people were injured, including Santiago’s partner, Alisha Brennon, who was in stable but critical condition.
In the Edgewater courtyard building where Santiago lived, Bruce Edwards was her closest neighbor.
“It’s just so sad. They’re just nice, good people. That’s all you can say. It’s cut too short,” Edwards told CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley.
Santiago directed the lesbian community care project at Howard Brown. Agency executives say the center didn’t just lose a staff member, they lost a star.
“She really worked across Chicago within the LGBT community and greater to make sure there was a coordinated system of services for women. It was a true passion of hers,” vice president Joel Hollendoer said.
Santiago was raised in New York City. She had been on the staff at the Howard Brown Center for six years.