Speak On It! Community Panel

Friday, September 25 at 5pm CDT

Watch live on our website, Facebook or YouTube

Inspired by Fannie Lou Hamer’s legacy, Goodman hosts five phenomenal women for a live stream public exchange on Friday, September 25 at 5PM. This group of hard-working civil and voting rights activists will tackle the question: How do the inequities of the past play out in current events, and what can we do to change our future?

The dynamic lineup features local and national voices including Indivisible's Voter Protection and Election Security Lead, Rose Colacino; award-winning social justice and civil rights activist, Mrinalini Chakraborty; Founder and President of Ida’s Legacy, Delmarie Cobb; and award-winning entrepreneur and activist, Genevieve Thiers. Actress, writer and activist Minita Gandhi moderates.


Meet The Panelists

  • Minita Gandhi, Moderator

    Minita Gandhi (she/her/hers) is a Los Angeles based writer/actor/healer/activist born in Mumbai, India. Chicago will always be her theatrical home. Her critically acclaimed solo-show Muthaland, which was Jeff Award-nominated for best New Work and best Solo Performance.  Off-stage, Minita’s socio-political work focuses on cultivating community, disrupting isolation, and healing. Gandhi is currently piloting a program with the team at AGE (Advance Gender Equity in the Arts) that bridges Portland based BIPOC women and non-binary emerging artists with BIPOC National Theater Leaders. She is the former National Co-Director for the StateraArts Mentorship Program, has created a global women’s leadership program for senior executives with Pinnacle Performance Company, and has led sessions on business leadership at National Conferences. As an activist and speaker, Minita was the keynote for Commit2Change in 2018, a former PBS Pledge Host, and the moderator for the Seattle Arts & Lectures special event featuring best-selling novelist ImboloMbue in 2019. She teaches workshops on Artivism, does work to support survivors, and is the Founder/CEO of www.minitastudio.com. Regional Theater includes Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Arena Stage, Berkeley Repertory Theater. TV includes Chicago Fire, Chicago PD (Dr. Prospere), Onion News Network (Nina Shankar), Brown Girls (Mussarat). She voices Shuma Mukherjee and others on Disney's Mickey's Upside-Down Adventures. www.minitagandhi.com Instagram/Twitter: @minitagandhi

    Minita Gandhi
  • Mrinalini Chkraborty

    Mrinalini Chakraborty is an award-winning social justice and civil rights activist, political organizer, and movement-builder. Born and raised in Kolkata, India, she started organizing as a teenager, in the movement for sex workers rights and against human trafficking and gender-based violence. At the age of 18, she immigrated to the United States to attend college, and over the past decade in this country, has been organizing in the movements for immigrants rights, racial justice, and women's rights. Her work focuses on intersectional coalition-building and building visionary and winning campaigns, and digital organizing and mass mobilization strategy. 

    Mrinalini is most renowned for her contribution to and leadership in building the Women's March movement and organization, since its inception in 2016. She served as the National Field and Mobilization Director for the 2017-2019 national Women's Marches, and played a key role in making the 2017 Women's March the largest single-day protest in US history. Over the next two years, she served as the founding National Field Director for the Women's March national organization, and helped build the robust network of local chapters that form the foundation of the movement’s continued local and national impact. For her activism and leadership, Mrinalini has been recognized through several awards, including Glamour Magazine's "Woman of the Year" Award and PEN America’s "Free Expression Courage” Award in 2017, ADAPT Chicago's “Woman of the Year” Award and Personal PAC's "Irving B. Harris Award for Leadership", in 2018, among others. She has delivered talks and keynote addresses on her work at University of Illinois: Chicago, Johns Hopkins University, Rutgers University, and at several prestigious conferences and events, such as the United States of Women: Chicago Conference, the Pro Bono Institute’s Annual Conference, BUILD Series NYC, FWD Collective Conference, New Founders Conference, Personal PAC’s Annual Gala, to name a few. Her work has been featured in numerous local and national publications, such as Glamour, W Magazine, Washington Post, Marie Claire, The Chicago Tribune, Chicago Woman, Bustle, Daily Kos, the Journal of Feminist Studies, books on organizing such as “Together We Rise: Behind the Scenes at the Protest Head Around the World” and “How To Read A Protest” (L.A. Kauffman), among others, and on several local and national television networks. 

    Over the last few years, Mrinalini has advised and worked on numerous local and national advocacy campaigns and local and state-level electoral campaigns. As a coalition-builder and movement strategist, she has helped convene several movement, policy, and civic tech innovation tables, that have helped build critical infrastructure and coalitions for the 2018 and 2020 elections and current legislative fights at the federal and state level. She served as a mentor and advisor for the Zero Hour March on Washington that has received worldwide recognition for its bold, intersectional, youth-led advocacy on climate change. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Men4Choice (and serves on its board), an organization that educates and organizes male allies in the fight for reproductive freedom and justice, and has helped shape the organization's national expansion and move towards culture-shifting work in addressing misogyny and toxic masculinity that sits at the root of oppressive policies and inequities in reproductive healthcare. She also works with several national and local organizations and coalitions that work on reproductive rights, health, and justice and the decriminalization of accessing abortion care, helping them build digital organizing capacity and bold, visionary campaigns that can expand and protect access to reproductive healthcare for all.

    Mrinalini Chakraborty
  • Delmarie L. Cobb

    Delmarie L. Cobb, Founder of Ida's Legacy: With over two decades of experience, Delmarie L. Cobb is a veteran journalist, a renowned trailblazer, and a fierce advocate for underserved communities. Her most notable accomplishments include being the first African-American to serve as press secretary of the Democratic National Convention in 1996, serving as the national traveling press secretary to presidential candidate Jesse Jackson, helping orchestrate the congressional campaign victory of then Alderman Bobby Rush and Jesse Jackson Jr., and serving as the Illinois press secretary for Hillary Clinton's historic presidential bid. Cobb runs her own venture, The Publicity Works, a Chicago-based, public affairs, political consulting, and media relations firm. To pass on her wealth of experience and knowledge, she founded the Ida B. Wells Legacy Committee, a political action committee whose purpose is to develop the next generation of progressive African-American women candidates who are willing to speak truth to power and work in the best interests of their constituents, keep voters informed, and engage political activists around public policy decisions that positively or adversely impact their respective communities.

    Delmarie L. Cobb
  • Rose Colacino

    Rose Colacino has been a member of Indivisible since 2016.  She is the Election Security and Voters’ Rights Lead for Indivisible Illinois.  Last year Rose organized and participated in a nationwide rally that helped secure $250 million in election security funding prior to the 2020 election.  She has also developed and activated an Indivisible 2020 plan concentrating on the critical swing states of Wisconsin and Michigan with a focus on Wisconsin, working closely with Wisconsin Democrats.  Rose has a background in corporate marketing, management and software sales.  She has also worked at a women-managed nonprofit that organized international education exchange programs.  Rose has a B.A. in Political Science and an M.B.A with a concentration in Marketing. 

    Rose Colacino
  • Genevieve Theirs

    Genevieve Thiers is an activist, entrepreneur, playwright and performer that lives in Chicago. Her company Sittercity.com ran for 19 years, served over 10mm, won over 18 major awards, was the subject of thousands of interviews and was acquired by Bright Horizons in 2020.  She has since joined the boards of 1871 and WEI and invested in 15 women in tech.  Her activism work includes founding and running the NewFounders conference in Chicago from 2016-2020, bringing in over 2000 major leaders to Chicago, and the creation of the TechYourself Guide for Diverse and Female candidates, which has trained over 1350 candidates for free since 2018 on how to use tech to win their races.  

    Her TV work includes RUN the Series, which has won multiple awards for Best New Reality, and The June Marsh Kettering Show, a political talk show on Tiktok and Facebook. Her theatrical written works include Backwards in Heels, Anna Russell: A Visitation and a new musical called Everly Yours, written with composer Mischa Zupko.  She is a member of the Chicago Dramatists Playwright circle. As a performer, she has sung and acted  with numerous New York and Chicago companies, among them Chicago Lyric Opera (Praskovia, The Merry Widow,) Goodman Theatre (Dinah, Trouble in Tahiti,) Porchlight Theatre (Older Belle, Little Me,) NY Lyric Opera at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, Lookingglass Theater, Fury Theater, Theater D, American Chamber Opera, OperaModa, Elgin Opera and Chicago Chamber Opera.  

    In her spare time she teaches arts and entrepreneurship at Farley School at Northwestern University, plays with her twins, and builds huge legoworlds.You can see more about her at www.genevievethiers.com.

    Genevieve Theirs