By Raul A. Reyes, NBC News
Latina author Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez is familiar with low expectations, the judgment of strangers and colorism — even among her own community.
In fifth grade, fellow Latino classmates mocked her dark skin, calling her “India” in a reference to Indigenous people. She recalls her high school counselor discouraging her from taking advanced classes.
As a graduate student, she was rejected from the campus writing center because of poor English skills — and then turned away from the English as a Second Language (ESL) center because her English skills were too advanced. A cashier at a store once casually asked if she had ever shot anyone.
Now Mojica Rodríguez is out with a book, “For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts,” that breaks down the experiences that have shaped her life. Subtitled, “A Love Letter To Women of Color,” the book examines how powerful forces can affect women like her — and explains what readers can do about it.
“My goal was to democratize knowledge,” said Mojica Rodríguez, 36, the founder of Latina Rebels, an online platform with more than 350,000 followers. “I wanted to share what I learned at college and graduate school with everyone; this information shouldn’t be so inaccessible, so women of color can see what we are up against in our daily lives.”
“For Brown Girls” is part memoir, part manifesto. Publishers Weekly called it “an inspiring and well-informed call to action.”
Mojica Rodríguez hopes that her book will help Latinas thrive in spaces that were not designed for them.
Born in Nicaragua and raised in Miami in an Evangelical Christian household, she holds a master’s degree in divinity from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. “Access to information changed my life,” she said. “For years, I was so angry, and I didn’t know where it was coming from. Once I figured it out, I moved through the world with a lot more grace.”
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