Voices of Courage: Care is Not a Crime - May 23, 2023

Dr. Bhavik Kumar &
Dr. DeShawn Taylor

John Oliver &
Olivia Julianna


Dr. Bhavik Kumar on Blue BackgroundBhavik Kumar, MD MPH will receive the 2023 Tiller Advocacy Award for his outspoken, intersectional advocacy work and for his resounding commitment to centering the communities most impacted by oppressive laws and policies in Texas.

Dr. Bhavik Kumar (he/him) is a board-certified Family Medicine physician practicing in Houston, Texas. He completed medical school at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock and El Paso, Texas, residency in Family & Social Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center, and a Fellowship in Family Planning at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, both in the Bronx, NY. His Master’s in Public Health is from Columbia University. He is a founding member of Centering Equity, Race, and Cultural Literacy in Family Planning (CERCL-FP). His clinical services include comprehensive family planning care, including abortion, primary care, and gender care. He is an outspoken advocate for abortion and trans care in the media and the courts. His research interests center on highlighting the effects of oppressive laws and policies impacting access to healthcare in Texas.

As a gay man of color, Dr. Kumar works to highlight the intersections of queer and reproductive rights. He approaches his work with an anti-racist lens and aims to disrupt systems that have historically marginalized minoritized peoples. He has served on the board for Physicians for Reproductive Health since 2017 and joined the board of the Society of Family Planning in 2023.

Dr. DeShawn Taylor on Blue BackgroundDeShawn Taylor, MD MSc will receive the 2023 Rashbaum Leadership Award for her inspiring leadership as a physician, abortion provider, and activist and for her career-long commitment to advancing reproductive rights and justice in Arizona and nationally.

Dr. Taylor (she/hers) is a Gynecologist, Family Planning Specialist, Gender Affirming Care Provider, and Reproductive Justice Activist, whose work advances reproductive health care access through direct services, education and training, advocacy, and leadership. She is an Associate Clinical Professor of OB/GYN at the University of Arizona College of Medicine Phoenix and solo operates Desert Star Family Planning, an independent abortion clinic founded in 2013. Desert Star is a hub for abortion training with medical students and residents from 18 states and 3 regions of Canada traveling to train with Dr. Taylor in Phoenix.

Recognized by the Maricopa County NAACP as a Trailblazer and as a Champion of Choice by the National Institute for Reproductive Health, Dr. Taylor has convened local and statewide coalitions for reproductive rights and justice with a keen interest in cultivating grassroots leadership in communities of color. Her nonprofit, Desert Star Institute for Family Planning established in 2017, houses coalition work and community programs advancing access to reproductive healthcare for multiply marginalized communities. While serving on the ACOG Committee on Healthcare for Underserved Women she helped draft the Joint Statement on Abortion Access During the COVID-19 Outbreak, which providers across the country leveraged to preserve essential abortion services during the initial months of the COVID pandemic. Dr. Taylor brings her expertise to state and national policy tables, establishing Health Justice MD to help organizations incorporate a justice lens into new and emerging commitments to support reproductive health and rights in the wake of the Dobbs decision. Her book, “Undue Burden: A Black Woman Physician on Being Christian and Pro-abortion in the Reproductive Justice Movement” provides a new prism from which to address the attack on abortion rights in America.


John Oliver on Blue BackgroundFeatured Speaker: John Oliver is a comedian, actor, writer, and host of HBO’s acclaimed series, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

He has received widespread critical and popular recognition for his work on the series, whose influence over US culture, legislation, and policymaking has been dubbed the “John Oliver effect.” For his work on Last Week Tonight, Oliver has won fourteen Emmy Awards and two Peabody Awards and was included in the 2015 Time 100, being described as a “comedic agent of change...powerful because he isn’t afraid to tackle important issues thoughtfully, without fear or apology.”


Olivia Julianna on Blue BackgroundEmcee & Special Guest: Olivia Julianna is an abortion rights activist from Houston, Texas; who currently serves as the Director of Politics & Government Affairs at Gen-Z for Change, a non-profit that focuses on civic engagement amongst Gen-Z, with a focus on labor rights, abortion rights, and education.

She is most well-known for initiating the takedown of a whistleblower website that targeted those in the state of Texas who aided in abortion access, working with Democratic campaigns across the country, and for raising $2.2 million for abortion funds after she was publicly attacked by Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz. Her audience across social platforms is over 800K — where she makes political commentary content and analysis videos.

Learn more about Voices of Courage on May 23.