'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."

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani wows audiences with his amazing musical talents.

Mozart was known for his musical talent at a young age, playing the harpsichord at age 4 and writing original compositions at age 5. So perhaps it's fitting that a video of 5-year-old piano prodigy Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani playing Mozart has gone viral as people marvel at his musical abilities.

Alberto's legs can't even reach the pedals, but that doesn't stop his little hands from flying expertly over the keys as incredible music pours out of the piano at the 10th International Musical Competition "Città di Penne" in Italy. Even if you've seen young musicians play impressively, it's hard not to have your jaw drop at this one. Sometimes a kid comes along who just clearly has a gift.

Of course, that gift has been helped along by two professional musician parents. But no amount of teaching can create an ability like this.

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