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Black Lives Matter hosts free COVID-19 testing as part of Juneteenth celebration in Denver

Posted at 2:24 PM, Jun 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-20 19:20:12-04

DENVER — Saturday, Black Lives Matter were in front of the Denver City and County Building looking to help people get tested for COVID-19.

"We want to make sure that African Americans and other [minority groups] have the ability to get tested. But not only get tested but have the resources they need if they get confirmed positive," said Kim Desmond, director for the Mayor's Office on Social Equity and Innovation.

With the city helping, this makeshift testing facility looked to do hundreds of tests on Saturday as part of their Juneteenth festivities.

"We actually had someone in BLM5280 be affected, so this hits really close to home, and that's why we want to make sure we're supporting our community," said Apryl Alexander, Black Lives Matter 5280 organizer.

Many people of all ages and backgrounds came out for the testing on the city's front lawn.

"I think it's great. Especially with all these protests going on that you can have kind of a one-stop-shop. Show up, represent your values, but also make sure you're being safe," said Aubrey Burgess, who was tested Saturday.

Being safe is the name of the game, but getting tested also helps with peace of mind.

"Because we all need to know our status. Again, it disproportionately affects black and brown communities, so we're encouraging everyone to come out here," Alexander said.

And besides health, there's another reason people did it.

"It's completely free. We'll take all the samples to the state lab. Run those and hope to have results in the next couple of days," said Cali Zimmerman with the city of Denver.

Even if they came for the other Juneteenth festivities, it was a small but important break from the celebration they came for.