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Urban League Block Party focuses on registering voters, COVID-19 testing
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Urban League Block Party focuses on registering voters, COVID-19 testing

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A block party hosted by the Urban League of Racine and Kenosha Saturday had all the typical features—a band, a bounce house and barbecue—with a more serious focus as well; voter registration and COVID-19 testing.

The Time For Change Block Party, held from 1 to 4 p.m. on the 6800 block of 14th Avenue, was focused on getting out the vote and on making sure people had access to free testing for the virus.

James Hall, the interim president and chief executive officer of the Urban League, said that the neighborhood surrounding the local Urban League office has both low voting turnout and a lack of access to COVID-19 testing.

“We hope to register at least 200 people to vote and to have at least 200 people get tested,” Hall said.

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Hall said the Urban League is working to improve its programming in Kenosha, and is working on renovations of the office, 1418 68th St. He said the board’s plan is to begin offering programs including financial literacy, education, arts and youth programs. The Block Party registration drive and COVID testing event was a new one for the organization, he said.

There were 15 organizations providing services at the event, from advice on registering small businesses to the Kenosha Library’s bookmobile to giveaways of toiletries and other household items.

Among the people volunteering was Alex Lasry, senior vice president of the Milwaukee Bucks, who was helping register voters. Lasry said he had reached out to organizers with the Democratic Party of Kenosha County to ask if he could help in any way in Kenosha County and they told him about the block party. “It was a good way to spend a Saturday,” he said.

Deborah Bedford was at the event, pushing her 87-year-old father Willie Bedford in his wheelchair. She said they had walked over from their home nearby. “I’m already registered to vote, but we need to get everyone else to register,” she said.

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