A culturally-conscious initiative to honor Juneteenth and provide health services to underserved communities kicks off today in Compton. The innovative COVID-19 testing experience called byeCOVID  hopes to create a model that might expand to other cities across the country, providing rapid testing as well as education, caring and healing.

“In comparison to traditional testing sites, byeCOVID will create an environment focused on holistic health and wellness, intentionally designed to make residents feel welcomed, respected and valued,” Compton Mayor Aja Brown tells L.A. Weekly. “This event is much more than an opportunity to get tested, it is a testament to the collective power we have to heal and care for ourselves during our most challenging times. For many people, getting tested or receiving health care can be very stressful and often times intimidating. byeCOVID aims to do the opposite, and create a moment where we celebrate and honor ourselves and community through wellness.”
Taking place at Compton College, the free event will provide testing and “culturally relevant care packages” including face masks, water, hand sanitizer, fresh produce and more.  Medical professionals will be administering antibody kits with finger prick samples that determine within three to seven minutes minutes if a person has been exposed to the coronavirus.

With the support of Brown, the event was created by Trap Heals and Originals Nation, both groups dedicated to philanthropic equity, addressing economic disparity and raising consciousness in Black communities.

“On the most basic level, we are addressing the inequalities by bringing resources that are usually not available in communities like Compton in ways that are also culturally empowering,” says Trap Heals founder Damon Turner. “We believe there is immense healing that comes from being seen. And we are intentionally creating innovative cultural activations across industries with neighborhood buy-in, to guarantee they have a stake in the healthy and equitable transformation of their communities.”

Drive up or walk up access to tests and healthcare packages will be available, as will shuttle buses to the site. Support to help the program become part of a national protocol can be made by donating at byecovid.org/donate.

byeCOVID takes place from 7 a.m.- 4 p.m. at 111E Artesia Blvd., Compton. More info at www.byecovid.org.


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