We are in the midst of Latinx Heritage Month, and during this time, between September 15 and October 15, we highlight Latina achievements more than ever. Literary achievements are part of the focus of LHM, with new, must-read books coming out for Fall, and several Latina writers deciding to write the books we all wish were around years ago. Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez is one of them.
Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez, Nicaraguan public theologian, founder of the online platform Latina Rebels, past contributing guest writer for BoldLatina (read her dozen or so essays published) and other publications, and now author, decided to put ink to paper with her September release, For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts: A Love Letter to Women of Color (she mentions us in the Notes section of the book, heyyyy). In it, she shares her journey through life and academic spaces, teaching other brown girls how to navigate them. We recently interviewed Prisca on her book, what she wants Latinas to take away from it, and more.
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BL: What inspired you to write this book?
PDMR: I do not love writing, but I feel called to write even when I am not fully prepared for what my writings want to say. So, the book came to me, the book told me what it wanted to be and I know that sounds wild but also, I don’t make the rules. What I had was an idea, a drive towards helping people.
What I am passionate about is democratizing knowledge, and so the idea of pushing myself past the self-doubt that creeps into the smallest crevices of my brain and soul, I could do that work knowing that this work needed to exist and if I was the one to do that then so be it.
BL: What is the one thing you want Latinas to take away from For Brown Girls?
PDMR: I want everyone who reads this and feels profound feelings, to then analyze that and do whatever feels manageable. I think too often we gatekeep people’s commitment to liberation, and I was honest throughout the book that liberation is hard and it can cost you a lot, if not everything.
So I want folks to do that work at whatever pace feels good, and even to push themselves past the discomfort when something does not necessarily feel good. But I want folks to be happy with the lives that they are living, and sometimes books can let us know what we felt but could not name, and if this book uncovers a hurt you overlooked, I want you to sit with it.
BUY IT TODAY!
“I wish I had found this book as a sixteen-year-old, then as a twenty-six-year-old, and again now. Prisca writes with the familiar voice of an older prima that wants to teach you everything she’s learned. This book is beyond a love letter. It a reckoning and an affirmation that there is power beyond the fear of our fearlessness. This book has fed me what I did not know I hungered for.”―Yesika Salgado, author of Corazón
BL: What can Latinas do you strive against gatekeepers? What do you want to see from the gatekeepers themselves?
PDMR: I think we strive past gatekeepers but not taking “no” for an answer, especially when that “no” comes from a place of controlling how you react, or overriding your own desires for yourself. Gatekeepers exist to maintain the status quo, so ask yourself every time someone says “no” why they would say “no,” and you might discover racism, classism, misogyny, xenophobia, etc.
I want gatekeepers gone. I want a world with less people concerned over how to protect elite white spaces.
BL: Are there people, groups, resources, books, etc. that helped you in your journey that you’d like to recommend to Latinas?
PDMR: I have an extensive bibliography in my book, books that were cited and then books that just informed my entire stance throughout the book. So read those books, and then read the books those books cite, and then read the book that those books cite but read and then when you have more questions read some more and share those books.
But also, I recommend that y’all find your community who will stick with you through thick and thin.
BL: Are there any more books by you on the horizon?
PDMR: I have 3 more books in the works, which I am very excited to share soon. I hope that one gets bought soon, possibly before the year ends. I am going to package and repackage stuff for as many audiences as I will be given access to, because knowledge that can change lives cannot be hoarded.
For more of Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez, check out her collection of early essays and support Latina authors with your book purchase of For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts: A Love Letter to Women of Color
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