DENVER, Colorado — In Civic Center Park, people celebrated Juneteenth with live music, art, wellness activities, food, and free COVID-19 testing.
"We recognize that these are dark times and that we’ve been protesting for a few weeks but really getting together and celebrating this rich holiday that has a great history and just embracing black love and liberation," Dr. Apryl Alexander of Black Lives Matter 5280 told 9NEWS.
Anyone at the celebration or passing by was eligible for a test. The state lab will process the samples and return a result within 24 to 72 hours.
The day after Juneteenth, a holiday celebrating the freedom of all slaves in 1865, Kim Desmond, the Director for the Mayor's office on Social Equity and Innovation, told 9NEWS "racism is still very much a determinant of health and impacts people of color. Sitting here reminds us that we’re not done yet. We are not done yet. The COVID results by race and ethnicity show us we have work to do to address systemic inequities."
Testing availability is just one part of the equation.
Desmond is also working to educate communities of color of the need for isolation among those who test positive.
"We want to make sure you’re not spreading it to your relatives. Culturally, that’s hard to do when you’re so connected and spend a lot of time together," Desmond said.
For those who need a little help after learning of a positive test result, Desmond told 9NEWS the city is there to lend a hand.
"It's not just testing. Denver, we got you. What do you need? We want to make sure you’re taken care of, especially our historically marginalized communities of color," Desmond said.