Beyoncé and mom Tina Knowles Lawson launch campaign to increase testing for minorities in Houston

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The COVID-19 pandemic has hit many people hard, but some groups were affected more than others.

African Americans, in particular, were hit especially hard. But, Houston's famous family stepped in to raise awareness and provide testing in some of the minority communities.

Entrepreneur and philanthropist, Tina Knowles Lawson, was stunned to learn that more than one third of people who die from the coronavirus are African Americans, even though they make up only 13% of the population in the U.S.

So, Miss Tina, as many people call her, and her daughter, Beyoncé, launched a campaign called, "I did my part," which they're bringing to Houston this weekend.

"Our people are dying, and we are misinformed," said Miss Tina. "We are still showing up in public places with no mask and no protection. And, for some reason, young people think they can't get this, which is not true."

The Knowles family has certainly come to Houston's aid before.

During Hurricane Harvey, they gave huge donations through Beyoncé's BeyGood foundation.

MORE: 'Houston is my home': Beyoncé talks to victims, gives donation to Harvey relief efforts
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Beyonce gives donation for Harvey relief efforts.



This time, they hope to reach at least 1,000 people to get them tested for free. They are also giving out masks, disinfectants and cleaning supplies, gift certificates for food and vitamins.

"Testing is the way we can contain this, and we are infecting our mothers, our grandmothers, our grandfathers, and they are dying at an alarming rate," said Miss Tina.

Miss Tina said, while they don't live in Houston full time any more, it is never far from their hearts.

"Houston is home for us. I was born in Galveston, but I moved to Houston very young," she said. "My children were raised here, and we absolutely love Houston. We love the community. We love the energy."

She says her daughters grew up learning how to give back, thanks to their church in Houston.

"We started feeding the homeless when Solange was five and Beyoncé was 10," she said. "They weren't happy about it back then, but I'm so happy we did that. We committed six months Sundays after church, and they learned early on that feeling you get when you make a difference in someone's life."

None of the Knowles family will be able to come to Houston this weekend because they are still sheltering at home. Miss Tina said she's been at home for 10 weeks now.

"We FaceTime every day, which was great in the beginning, but now, it's getting old," she said. "I want to touch my grandchildren so bad."

Free testing is available at Cullen Middle School, located at 6900 Scott St, on Friday and Forest Brook Middle School, located at 7525 Tidwell Rd, on Saturday. Both locations are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

Miss Tina will also be on ABC13's virtual townhall about COVID-19 and racial disparity on Thursday at 7 p.m.

FULL INTERVIEW: Miss Tina talks to ABC13's Melanie Lawson on 'I did my part' campaign
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"Testing is the way we can contain this, and we are infecting our mothers, our grandmothers, our grandfathers, and they are dying at an alarming rate," said Miss Tina. Watch her full interview above.



SEE ALSO: ABC13 to host virtual town hall on COVID-19 and communities of color
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