Longmire-Avital named inaugural director of Elon’s Black Lumen Project

The psychology faculty member will lead a new equity initiative in support of the Black experience at Elon.

As the United States declares Juneteenth as an official federal holiday, Elon University announces the appointment of Buffie Longmire-Avital, associate professor of psychology, as the first director of Elon’s Black Lumen Project: An Equity Initiative. The project, envisioned in the report issued in October 2020 by the Committee on Elon History and Memory, will enhance the Black experience at Elon in pursuit of equity and move the institution further in its commitment to inclusive excellence.

Longmire-Avital was appointed to the position by Randy Williams, vice president and associate provost for inclusive excellence, on the recommendation of a six-member search committee. She will begin her four-year term on July 1.

“Dr. Longmire-Avital’s vision for launching this important work conveys a reckoning of historical truths, along with Elon’s position to enhance the Black experience in sustainable ways that make our entire campus and extended community better,” Williams said.

Longmire-Avital says the Black Lumen Project demonstrates the university’s unprecedented commitment to the dynamic Black communities of Elon University.

“The Black Lumen Project will be an exemplar vehicle for restorative healing and social justice,” said Longmire-Avital. “The nuanced attention to the Black experience this collective work and bold pursuit will bring is a critical next step in the institution’s unwavering commitment to the legacies of our rich communities.”

Longmire-Avital joined the Elon faculty in 2010 after teaching on the faculties at City University of New York and New York University. She is a prolific author and speaker and focuses her scholarship on the ways that racial identity, racial microaggressive stress, socioeconomic status, depression, chronic conditions, religion and sexuality are related to both health risk behaviors and coping responses for Black American populations.

For the past six years, Longmire-Avital has been coordinator of Elon’s interdisciplinary minor in African, African American Studies (AAASE) and works closely with the university’s Center for Race, Ethnicity and Diversity Education (CREDE). She was a member of the planning committee that created the Boldly Elon Strategic Plan and helped write the plan’s theme titled “Thrive,” which sets forth an agenda for advancing a more diverse, equitable and inclusive community.

In serving as director of the Black Lumen Project, Longmire-Avital will hold a seat on the Committee on Elon History and Memory and will maintain Elon’s membership with the national Universities Studying Slavery consortium. She will organize and lead signature Black Lumen Project initiatives and events and prepare an annual report on the Black experience at Elon. She will also advance Elon’s diversity, equity and inclusion curricular resources and work closely with academic and student life programs and departments to amplify the Black experience across the university.

Longmire-Avital will provide leadership for an annual summit for AAASE, CREDE, Elon Black Alumni Network, Black Employee Resource Group, Black Life Advisory Council, Black Student Union, National Panhellenic Council and other Black affinity groups. She will also lead creation of the Wyatt Outlaw Leadership Institute, an annual event held in collaboration with Elon’s Center for Leadership, the School of Education and Black leaders in Alamance County, that will engage Black student leaders at Elon and Alamance County high schools.