'ByeCOVID' offers free, mobile coronavirus antibody testing to communities of color
ByeCOVID

The coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities of color in the United States, adding insult to injury in the ongoing fight for racial equity in all areas. According to an NPR analysis of available data, the following are some disparities that have been found:

-Nationally, deaths from COVID-19 are nearly two times greater for Black Americans than would be expected based on share of population. In four states, the rate is three or more times greater than expected.

- In 42 states plus Washington D.C., Hispanic/Latino people make up a greater share of cases than expected for population share

- In 37 states plus Washington D.C. white deaths are lower than expected for population share



In response to these disparities, the city of Compton, California is partnering with Black-led organizations to respond to the testing and care needed in Black and Brown communities. ByeCOVID is an initiative founded by Originals Nation, a non-profit organization focusing on economic progress and wealth-building for Black America. It provides infrastructure to support innovation, as well as Trap heals, an artist/strategist collective utilizing community engagement, artistic activism and cultural leadership to honor and heal communities of color.

Together with the mayor of Compton, Aja Brown, these organizations are offering free, FDA-approved, rapid antibody testing to the community through byeCOVID.

In fact, today they are offering free antibody testing to all attendees of Compton College's Juneteenth celebration, with both walk-up and drive-thru options available.

The byeCOVID website describes the coronavirus initiative as, "a cultural response system that can deploy resources directly to underserved communities during this crisis."

Why is a "cultural response system" needed? Because we are in a healthcare crisis that relies on a healthcare system that already has a problem with disparate racial outcomes. The fact that the pandemic has followed suit points to certain needs not being met in communities of color.

"Providing underprivileged communities with free COVID-19 antibody testing delivered in a culturally sensitive manner is our chance to transform the narrative and uplift the people," the website states. "We won't stop with getting them access to the testing kits. We will also provide them with holistic care packages curated to promote positive well being that can sustain long-term healing."

A byeCOVID van can bring mobile testing into communities where testing is needed, and the care packages offered are "filled with essential items, personal protective equipment (PPE) and many soothing grooves to promote healthy coping mechanisms and best mental health practices."

Since the healthcare system doesn't generally recognize or attend to the cultural needs of communities of color, this initiative aims to help fill the gap, at least during the pandemic. "Racism is a public health crisis and we must come together to protect the most vulnerable among us," the byeCOVID site states. "During this global pandemic, which has prompted immense societal reflection, healing elements that remind us of self-care and communal togetherness need to become standard for the cultural spaces we create."

Courtesy of Benjamin Faust via Unsplash
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After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Public education is one of the most complex issues under normal circumstances, but the pandemic has made it far more complicated. The question of how to meet the needs of kids who come from diverse families, communities, and socioeconomic circumstances—not to mention having diverse mental strengths, interests, and challenges of their own—is never simple, and adding the difficulty of living through a pandemic with its lack of certainty, structure, and security is a whole freaking lot.

Kids' individual experiences during the pandemic have varied greatly. While the overall situation has been hard for everyone, some kids have actually thrived at home, away from the rigid schedules and social quagmire of traditional school. Other kids have floundered without the routine and personal interaction, while still others are stuck in terrible home situations or have needs that can't be met by parents alone. Some kids are being greatly harmed by missing school.

Educators, politicians, public health officials, and parents have gone around and around for the past year trying to figure out what smart, what's safe, what's necessary, and what's not for kids during COVID-19. Many of us are worried about the mental health and educational struggles children are facing. There are no easy answers. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.

However, there is an attitude that we can take that will serve all our children as more kids move back to the classroom. A 40-year veteran of our education system, former New York teacher and administrator Therea Thayer Snyder, wrote a letter on Facebook that has resonated with teachers and parents alike. In it, she describes what our kids have experienced during the pandemic, how academic standards and measures no longer apply, and what schools can do to help kids process what they've been through. It reads:

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Courtesy of Benjamin Faust via Unsplash
True

After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

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via YouTube The Kelly Clarkson Show

America's original idol, Kelly Clarkson, put a powerful spin on No Doubt's breakthrough hit, 1995's "Just a Girl," on her talk show Monday. She slowed down the tempo, added some strings and a menacing keyboard, to give the song a haunting sound.

The original version was peppy and sarcastic with Gwen Stefani singing in a faux pouty voice until the chorus in which she goes full '90s girl power.

Clarkson sang the new version during the "Kellyoke" segment of her talk show where she covers some of her favorite songs. Check out the moment 58 seconds in where she holds the final note on the line, "That's all that you'll let me be."

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Sergi Cardenas/Instagram

Optical illusions are always fun to play with, and the paintings of Sergi Cadenas are no exception.

If you walk up to one of Cadenas's portraits from one direction, you'll see a face. If you walk up to it from the opposite direction, you'll also see a face—but a totally different one. Sometimes it's a young face that ages as you walk from one side to another, like this one:

Or this one:

Sometimes it's a face that has the...um...face part removed.

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