“The virus is wreaking havoc on the Black community so we need a movement to prioritize our health,” Knowles Lawson said, citing a recent report from the CDC that as of April 23, 33.7% of COVID patients were African American, even though African Americans comprise only 13% of US population. And per the CDC, as of mid-April, roughly 33% of all fatalities are African American.
“We are all in this together. But we have to look at what is happening in our Black and Brown communities and how they are being decimated by COVID-19,” Knowles Lawson continued. “It is critical that we stay vigilant with social distancing, wearing a mask, and most of all getting tested. If you don’t get tested then you don’t know if you are a carrier of the virus. Being asymptomatic is how you infect your entire household and those around you, the very people you love. We have got to go to these free testing facilities and find out our status.”
Sponsored by BeyGOOD, the philanthropic initiative founded by her daughter, Beyoncé, #IDIDMYPART Mobile Testing Relief Campaign, this Mother’s Day weekend, aims to bring awareness to the daily testing administered by United Memorial Medical Center, initiated by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee. This weekend’s effort will provide 1,000 test kits, face masks, gloves, essential vitamins and household supplies to citizens of Houston. The test is free and administered under safe conditions as participants will never have to exit their vehicles.
“Testing is crucial because it helps find hot spots and saves lives,” Jackson-Lee said. “Texas has a very low COVID-19 test rate, second-lowest in the nation. This is why the commitment by Ms. Tina Knowles Lawson and BeyGOOD is so significant in helping Houstonians get out and get tested.”
After Knowles Lawson spoke with her friend, Tim Mettey, CEO of Matthew 25, an organization that has been providing Houston with supplies distributed by St. John’s Methodist Church in Downtown Houston for two years post-Hurricane Harvey, a partnership with consumer goods giant Proctor & Gamble and minority-owned carrier, TWC Logistics was formed. P&G teamed up with BeyGOOD and is committed as a donor for additional cities.
Participants receiving a test will also receive a grocery gift card from BeyGOOD, purchased from H-E-B Grocery Company, the supermarket chain with more than 350 stores throughout the state of Texas. H-E-B will match BeyGOOD’s contribution.
A voucher for a hot meal, also compliments of BeyGOOD, will be provided to participants and the medical staff administering the test, to two local favorite restaurants, Frenchy’s Chicken and Burns Original Bar-B-Q. Participants will also receive written materials with all the up-to-date information on how to stay safe. In observance of social distancing measures, supplies will be placed in vehicle trunks as participants exit the testing sites.
On Friday, May 8, United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) Healthcare staff will administer 500 COVID-19 tests in Houston’s 3rd Ward at Cullen Middle School, located at 6900 Scott Street, Houston, Texas 77021. Testing will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
On Saturday, May 9, an additional 500 tests will be administered again by UMMC, this time in north Houston at Forest Brook Middle School, 7525 Tidwell, Houston, Texas 77016. Testing will also take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
BeyGOOD’s director, Ivy McGregor, looks forward to all interested individuals and businesses – local and national – joining forces with Knowles Lawson and BeyGOOD in building the movement to make a difference in the communities.
“We must all do our part in saving lives and protecting our communities,” said McGregor. “What Ms. Tina has created is a huge step in showing us that we must put our health first.”
Knowles Lawson has been a longtime supporter of her hometown. Her philanthropic work includes the establishment of The Knowles-Rowland Center for Youth, the Survivor Foundation and Miss A Meal. With her family, she has helped new Houston residents following their arrival after Hurricane Katrina, aiding residents with, food, clothing, and housing as a result of the flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and feeding and housing victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston. With husband, actor Richard Lawson, her latest philanthropic initiative is the launch of the non-profit WACO Theater Center in Los Angeles.
Recently, Beyoncé teamed up with Jack Dorsey’s #StartSmall to donate $6 million through BeyGOOD to local community-based organizations, including United Memorial Medical Center, which has been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 with six testing locations in and around the Houston area.