Portland, OR. Self Enhancement, Inc. provided the first free coronavirus testing to the African American community on June 6th. An estimated 300 community members came to the Northeast Portland headquarters of the nonprofit for the free tests. Tony Hopson Sr., director of the nonprofit, has been pushing for more testing since April when it became clear the virus was disproportionately affecting African Americans.

Non-symptomatic people and those who have been near large crowds recently were also encouraged to come to be tested.

Self Enhancement, Inc., was able to serve walk-ups on top of the scheduled appointments. 

Earlier in the week, Patrick Allen, Oregon Health Authority director, apologized to communities of color for the disproportionate effect the virus has had on “Black and African American, Asian and Pacific Islander, Native American, and Latino, Latina, and Latinx people, in the U.S., and here in Oregon…A centuries-long history of racism and oppression have led to the very health conditions that exacerbate the impacts of COVID-19. And we at OHA were, frankly, too slow to recognize that threat and act on it,” Allen said in a statement. “For that, I’m truly sorry.”

At least one Oregon tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs, has seen more than 20 positive COVID-19 cases as of the end of May. Some of the state’s largest workplace outbreaks have been at fruit-packing plants, where employees are predominantly Latino.

The public health agency announced Wednesday it was expanding its recommendations for people who should get tested to include all people of color in Oregon, and a spokesman said the agency is helping to facilitate the testing Saturday.

About Self Enhancement, Inc:

Self Enhancement, Inc (SEI) is dedicated to guiding underserved youth to realize their full potential. Working with schools, families, and partner community organizations, SEI provides support, guidance, and opportunities to achieve personal and academic success. SEI brings hope to individual young people and enhances the quality of community life.