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In a world where black women are constantly seen as resilient and strong, is there room for them to be cared for? Take care of themselves? A student from Elon University is here to prove that there is, indeed. Self-care may continue to be a buzzword both online and offline, but Lumen Scholar, Eukela Little is on a mission to get more black women to consider selfishness in real life and in real time. Alongside her mentor Buffie Longmire-Avital, Little shines a light on how the unrealistic standards of “Black Girl Magic” and other seemingly positive affirmations, may actually have a negative impact on the mental health of black women.
With her research project, “Strong, Black and Selfish: Reframing the Strong Black Woman Persona to include Self-Care through a Mobile Health Intervention,” an eight-week activation that encourages Black women to redefine themselves. But how did black women find themselves in this position, and is there hope for freedom from the constraints of the “kingdom”?
“It starts with realizing that you were overwhelmed and that you see yourself as a strong black woman,” said Buffie Longmire-Avital, associate professor of psychology and mentor to Little. “But what does that mean and how can you still be a strong, selfish black woman, self-care centers and recognize that you are only human? »
As part of her research, Little conducted interviews with mental health experts, as well as black female students, each of which she filmed and attached to a video prompt to broadcast for her nearly 30 participants. . At the start of each week, participants are introduced to a new concept such as mindful meditation, understanding self-care and others. While Little was sure of the structure she wanted to commit to for her research project, her mentor admittedly needed a minute to catch up.
“There was this moment where I was trying to push Eukela into this typical search box, and she was like, ‘That’s not what I wanted to do. I want to create workshops and help people right away. I “I don’t just write the research. She wanted to spread that information. It wasn’t about generating research for her consumption or for a privileged few,” Longmire-Avital said. says Today to Elon.
“It woke me up in terms of how I was following a certain pattern and gave me the courage to let go. Eukela is a wonderful example of when you take a step back and let the creativity and innovation go. ‘a student to guide you,” she added. “I am grateful for his vision and unwavering belief in wanting to be the change, not just document what needs to happen.”
Little and Longmire-Avital have worked together since the student’s first year of college. Together, they prepared the application file for the Lumen Prize.
“I had two other research mentors before Longmire-Avital, and she was my first black female mentor,” Little said. “That in itself has created a sense of security for me to present myself as myself during difficult times.”
The Lumen Prize awards 15 rising seniors each year a $20,000 scholarship to support their research project, as well as a mentor who will work closely with the student for the remaining two years.
“We always talk about ‘black girl magic.’ Longmire-Avital on his mentee’s research “It was worrying to me because we are human. We should always be aware of where trends are heading and how these trends may initially seem like one thing… but if we are not careful, they can also be sources of great pressure. Eukela’s research illuminates this.