Local Gem: Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas
At our Wellness Retreat, we were thankful to have the peeps of Planned Parenthood on a table. Not only are they a terrific sexual health resource, but they are also one of the biggest advocates for women's health.
We had the chance to ask Kolby Duhon, a Planned Parenthood volunteer, about his involvement in Planned Parenthood and why the organization has been important to his development. Soak up the advice our featured local gem has to offer and get inspired to become involved in a community project you're passionate about:
Q: What inspired you to start working with Planned Parenthood/community advocacy? Did you have any role models or learn from someone, in particular?
A: Since moving to Austin three years ago, I had been involved as a general volunteer here and there but admittedly was not as directly invested as I should have been in this fight. That changed, in no small part due to the efforts of a courageous young activist named Sadie Hernandez who started a one-woman rally that grew to a national movement called the #PeoplesVeto in protest of the Governor’s deplorable cuts to Planned Parenthood’s life-saving Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program. I was fortunate enough to join Sadie and many other incredible activists on the third day and ended up staying for 15 days in a show of solidarity to those all across our state that will lose their lives due to these inexcusable cuts. I still #StandWithSadie and we will not yield!
Q: Do you have any tidbits of advice for people with passions, in general?
A: The best advice I can give on that is to never hush your voice for someone else’s comfort. Speak boldly and with intellect about the issues affecting you and your brothers and sisters that live in marginalized communities. If people are comfortable with the way things are, then they aren’t paying attention. Make people uncomfortable when necessary, and when all else fails—direct action—get in the streets!
Q: What's your day job (if this business isn't your day job)?
A: By day I’m a Civil Court Clerk for The Justice Of The Peace Precinct 2 Court here in Travis County. By night I'm a political operative/activist in the community. I also serve as Statewide Membership Director for the Texas Young Democrats, serve as Finance Director for Ambassadors of Jesus Children Orphanages (which service 22 orphanages throughout Haiti and the Dominican Republic), and I'm the Chair of an exploratory committee to establish a Covenant House Branch here in Travis County to address youth homelessness in our city. I'm also a Co-Chair of Austin For Bernie Sanders.
#bossbabesATX note: Damn, boy! Get it!
Q: When you're discouraged, what do you run to or away from?
A: I tend to run toward activism. For me, discouragement means that I need to get back to the roots of why I do the work that I do. I need to be reminded of the changes that have been enacted by so many of the incredible activists I’m blessed to surround myself with and be assured that the good will of those around me will always drown out the hate that can so often be lurking right around the corner in our line of work. Also, a few slices from East Side Pies and beer as dark as I can possibly find can be helpful.
Your favorite band: I pretty much can get down with anything that isn’t country. Mix in some weird 80s or New Wave stuff, and I’m satisfied.
Your favorite book: I could go on about this one forever—currently reading "The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History" by Elizabeth Kolbert.
Your local Austin gem: Resistencia Bookstore—always good new ideas being hatched about social justice movements in a safe space.