LOOKING BACK ON 2020

At eight months' pregnant, she organized racial justice protest in Iowa City

'We have to fight for what's right and we have to do tough things'

Chelsey Montgomery-Gusta organized a June 6 protest in Iowa City with her husband, Dillon Gusta, while eight months preg
Chelsey Montgomery-Gusta organized a June 6 protest in Iowa City with her husband, Dillon Gusta, while eight months pregnant with their son, Calvin Gusta, now 6 months old. Photographed Dec. 21 at their home in Parnell. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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IOWA CITY — Chelsey Montgomery-Gusta faced her fears not once, but twice in 2020 — all in a matter of weeks.

The first was June 6 when Montgomery-Gusta, 26, of Parnell, marched in a peaceful protest in Iowa City she organized with her husband, knowing protests have sometimes been met with violence and the couple and their unborn son could be at risk.

The second time was June 22 when she delivered her son, Calvin, at home to ensure a natural birth — without masks — and avoid transmission of COVID-19.

“It was scary,” Montgomery-Gusta said of those experiences. “It was scary getting up and going to the protest. It was scary giving birth at home by myself. It was scary bringing a son into this world.”

And so 2020 has taught Montgomery-Gusta valuable lessons — to focus on positives rather than negatives and to be confident in her decisions.

“We have to trust ourselves,” she said. “We have to trust our instincts. We have to fight for what’s right and we have to do tough things.”

Montgomery-Gusta, who owns and operates Knallhart Kennells and Training Academy in Iowa City, said 2020 has been “an awakening.”

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“There’s nothing that teaches you more about yourself and the world than adversity, struggle and conflict,” she said. “I knew what I wanted to do. ... I knew it was important to fight for things that are important.”

Comments: (319) 339-3155; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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