An epic 8-count photo shoot brings awareness to black women's health and more

TOPEKA, Kan (WIBW)--- An epic eight count photoshoot took place right underneath Chris Omni's 'Dear Black Women' billboard near 41st and Topeka Blvd.

Sunday's event wrapped up the first 13-week phase of events aimed to bring awareness to black women's health by promoting physical activity.

The photo shoot was organized by Chris Omni, or the Health Hippie, who says her Black Butterflyz movement looks to empower black women.

"It may seem like a simple billboard, but it is very much empowering," Omni said.

Omni said the several billboards - placed around the city each month since March - were love letters to black women.

"We started off as Dear Black Women. And then the messages continued to rotate each month. So dear black women you are wonderful, dear black women you are fantastic, dear black women you are terrific, dear black women you are magnificent," she said.

Those are messages she said everyone needs to hear.

"Because when you turn on the TV you don't really see positive images and portrayals of black women. When you turn on the radio, you certainly don't hear positive messages directed towards us," Omni added.

The initiative, Black Butterflyz, sends words of encouragement and draws attention to black women's health.

"Our goal is to improve the health and well being of black women between the ages of 39 and 64, and we do that by focusing physical activity."

Omni said black women are more likely to have diabetes, die of cancer, and die of a stroke, and she said there's no bigger way to raise awareness than with a billboard.

Since the launch of phase one Omni has held several walking classes and provided biometric screening to track height, weight, girth measurements, blood pressure, and glucose.

They have partnered with Washburn University's Kinesiology Department and School of Nursing, as well as the Black Nurses Association to provide the screenings.

She said so far she has seen a huge improvement in confidence from participants.

The first half of her campaign not only created a sisterhood, but also a network of men and women creating change.

"As I've said numerous times that it will take the entire community, not just black women to make black women's health a priority," Omni added.

The photo shoot was also the beginning of the second phase of the campaign. Omni said walks, screenings, and more events can be expected

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