COLUMBIA, S.C. — A yearly event returning to the Midlands in 2021 is hoping to inspire small changes so women of color in South Carolina can live longer, healthier lives.
IMARA Woman Magazine is hosting it's 19th Health Empowerment Tour.
Throughout the years, IMARA Woman has hosted the event in 37 of South Carolina's 46 counties.
"We try to make sure that we go into the smaller communities, particularly those rural areas that may not get this kind of event and bring it right to them in their community so they can hopefully take advantage of all the health screenings and all the information," said South Carolina state representative, Wendy Brawley, the CEO of IMARA Woman Magazine.
Imara in Swahili means "strong" and "powerful".
At the free event, attendees can expect health information that's both culturally relevant and culturally appropriate. This year, tour stops will be in Richland, Sumter and Laurens counties.
"We chose these counties with the help of Prisma Health," said Brawley. "They've been tracking what's happening with COVID and we are trying to make certain we go into these rural communities, especially now, and provide vaccine opportunities as well as information on how best to avoid and manage chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and so on."
Prisma Health representatives will also be talking about how to take care of your emotional health, how to cook healthier options for your favorite foods and how to keep your body in motion. These small changes, organizers say, can make a big difference over the long haul.
"Most of the time it is a matter of changing behaviors. If we can change behaviors, we can stay healthier longer and we can fight off chronic illnesses," said Brawley. "The only thing we want to do is provide information to people in a way that will be meaningful and that will help them hopefully walk away and commit to making one small change to keep themselves and their families healthy."
This year's theme of the Empowerment Tour is Mind, Body, Spirit: We Made It! The first of three tour stops will take place Saturday, September 11 at 9 a.m. at Eastover Park. Those who wish to attend will be provided with a hot lunch.
Along with free educational materials and food, there will also be door prizes up for grabs.
To attend, you must register in advance. You can register online in advance by visiting https://www.imarawoman.com/health-empowerment-tour-is-back/.
The second tour stop will be October 2 at the Pinewood Community Center in Pinewood, SC. The third stop is set to take place in Laurens, SC, at a location that will be announced in the coming weeks.
In the past, close to 300 people were in attendance at the Health Empowerment Tour. This year, their goal is to operate a much smaller event to have everyone in a large space with social distancing and mask-wearing in effect.
Prisma Health will offer vaccines at all tour stops. No purchase is necessary at the event.