Compton Mayor Aja Brown, Originals Nation and Trap Heals founder Damon Turner all partnered together to host “ByeCOVID,” a local initiative event where they provided free COVID-19 testing to Compton residents along with care packages to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The event serviced over 1,000 people who registered or pre-registered. It was great vibes of live music, food, art, and a group of ambitious volunteers to serve the community. There couldn’t have been a more innovative way to host this event.
Mayor Brown mentioned that the choice to host this event on Juneteenth is symbolic of the care we need to have for the people of color. “This is about access, we’re hoping that people have some indication of their health and if they test positive seek medical help. This is a great way to represent our communities.”
The goal of this initiative was to show love to the people of Compton and provide self-care essentials for the community. Mayor Brown said, “The whole purpose was to show love, healing, and take care of one another. There are also some wonderful self-care bags with candles, essential oils, and seeds that you can grow. It’s all about wellness, loving each other and making sure we can take care of each other and our community.”
With the lack of resources that were provided to the city of Compton, Mayor Brown, Turner, and Originals Nation felt it was time to use their influence. Mayor Brown mentioned that this time was critical despite the lockdown to honor Juneteenth. “We thought that even though the majority of the state is on lockdown, we can do something to celebrate our life, ourselves and our community. We have music in the background and great food. We just wanted to pour some love to the community and acknowledge this day as well.”
They wanted an innovative healing, and COVID testing site serving as a cultural response to the system for underserved communities.
Turner uses his art to communicate with the community. Creating Bye-COVID is a solution to ensure communities are prioritized. Turner and others felt Compton was being intentionally neglected and it was time to take matters into his own hands. “Economic racism has evolved. Racism is a crisis and will continue to be a crisis. The effect the coronavirus continues to have on our communities motivated us to come up with a solution. We can’t wait for the system to help us. We must help ourselves.”
According to Turner, in order to stop economic racism African Americans have to get in positions to utilize our black power. He spoke passionately about using our power like never before. “Our black magic has never gone away. We have to get in positions of power to maximize our abilities to enhance the communities. Nobody is going to take care of our communities like we do.”
In a recent interview, Turner goes on today, “It is impossible to get on social media and not see the world fighting for black lives. But let’s not forget we are still in the midst of a global pandemic which is impacting Black and Brown communities the hardest.”
Continue to follow, donate, and support the Bye-COVID initiative as Mayor Brown, Turner and the Originals Nation provide resources and self care materials to the city of Compton.