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Women are Shaping Local Policy on Covid-19 and Racial Justice

Stephanie Gottesman
Councilwoman Michelle Chambers

As she reaches the end of her first year in office, Councilwoman Michelle Chambers returns to Women Are: Fort Wayne. She and host Stephanie Gottesman discuss the city’s response to Covid-19, the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer following the death of George Floyd, the Mayor’s Commission for Police Reform and Racial Justice, the importance of this upcoming election, and how she has stayed positive during her recent battle with breast cancer.

Part Two

When Councilwoman Chambers was last on Women Are: Fort Wayne back in Season 1, she was still running for office. In January, she and Councilwoman Sharon Tucker made Fort Wayne history by becoming the first two African-American women to serve on our City Council, and Councilwoman Chambers is the first to hold an At-Large position. In the first part of the interview, Chambers shares her experience winning the election and beginning 2020 with a lot of hope and excitement.

The first major hurdle of 2020 was the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Chambers shares how the pandemic affected her work with city council, and the efforts she made (and continues to make) to try and bring hazard pay to essential workers. She shares her views on the months ahead of the pandemic, and why it’s so important to wear a mask.

If Covid-19 defined our spring, then early summer here in Fort Wayne was defined by the civil unrest following the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Chambers shares what it was like working downtown during the protests, her reaction to the violence and rioting that occurred, and her perspective on what people should take away from the Black Lives Matter movement this year. She also shares her experience being appointed as the Chair for the Mayor’s Commission on Police Reform and Racial Justice. She talks about the lessons that both sides of the debate have to learn from each other, and what some of the possible paths forward could look like.


As if 2020 didn’t hold enough challenge already, Councilwoman Chambers speaks courageously about her recent battle with breast. Her positive outlook on such a terrifying diagnosis moved Stephanie Gottesman to ask her about how she manages to stay so positive in the face of such big challenges, and she eloquently shares her wisdom.


The last part of the conversation looks forward to next week’s election, and she shares her views on what’s at stake for women and minorities in this election. She encourages everybody to get out and vote, and to encourage everybody in their immediate circle of life to also get out and vote.



Credit KelsiCote

We’re happy to welcome back KelsiCote as our featured musician. Singer-songwriters, Kelsi Lee & Cote Godoy bridge distinct cultural roots forming a fresh sound that is uniquely their own. The song, Bloomingbird, is off their new album, Ayun. The recording features the KelsiCote Amig@s – Tommy Saul on piano, Colin Boyd on percussion, Derek Reeves on Viola, Casey Stansifer on bass, and Cote Godoy on acoustic guitar. You can find KelsiCote’s music at, or on Spotify, Facebook, and Bandcamp. They also have a family friendly performance with the full KelsiCote Amig@s group, playing music from their new album at the Clyde Friday Night Vibes with Meet The Music's Julia Meek on the 20th of November at 7 pm. 

Women Are: Fort Wayne is a production of Monstrous Regiment Media and distributed by WBOI in Fort Wayne. Our show is sponsored by the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne. This episode was written and produced by Stephanie Gottesman and Traci Henning-Kolberg, and edited by Adam Blackburn.

We appreciate you subscribing, rating and reviewing the show on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever else you get your podcasts. You can also visit us at, or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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