An Open Letter to Young Brown Girls Everywhere
There is power in having the female voice as the messenger. Last month, on March 15, 2017, Prisca Dorcas Mojica-Rodriguez came to Port Ministries as a special guest for The Peoples School’s Focus, Create Repeat: The Process of Art Making workshop to speak to Richards Career Academy and Peace and Education Coalition High School students and others from the community. She shared many powerful messages and read her piece dedicated to brown girls everywhere. The talk was recorded and live aired by Richards Career Academy’s Pop Up Youth Radio, one of the after-school art programs from the National Museum of Mexican Art and their youth initiative, Yollocalli Arts Reach. (The Gate/Gloria Talamantes)
Dear Brown Girl,
You see everything. You notice people around you growing and changing, because you are perceptive. Keep that. Trust your instincts. This world will tell you that feelings are not real and that logic trumps all of that, but know that those feelings are generationally taught. You’ve inherited an eye and an instinct for things that probably come from your mami, tias, hermanas, abuelas. They are smart; do not discard their knowledge, strength, and super human ability to love you and your hermanxs.
Students listen to the stories being shared by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez. (The Gate/Gloria Talamantes)
The world is in the palm of your hands, and older people who have believed the lie that only white people are more valuable will try to cut you down and keep you small. You come from ancestors who survived genocide. You cannot be small and you cannot be stopped. Do not let them fool you into thinking you aren’t capable.
Run, laugh and play. Be as carefree as possible; it will make everyone around you wonder how a brown girl can be this carefree in a world that wants to see you fall. You deserve everything under the sun, because the sun is indigena. Didn’t your mami teach you that? Make friends. Later these people will become your lifeline. Find other carefree brown girls to build with and laugh with and, most importantly, run with, because this world will want to drown you, so learn to run away and into safe and warm embraces.
Read. School will not save you. School systems are made to indoctrinate you, teaching you history that puts the government in a positive light. They will teach you a history that erased American Indians, a history that negates Aztlan, a history that pretends that the USA is not to blame for all the ills around the world. Do not buy into it. Read on your own. Go the library. Ask your tia malcriada, she probably has some great book recommendations. Do not ask white people for advice. They are indoctrinated― they have to be. They benefit from these lies. You have to learn this, fast, to ask other brown folks. Ask your older primo, the one in college, what he is reading, and then ask to borrow his books. Your brain is so powerful and you are capable of so much, you just have to let the lies about you slide off your back and right back to them.
Do not let anyone clip your wings. Your wings are what makes you different and bold.
Listen to your elders. Really listen, they know a lot. But always remember that they are learning also, and they are capable of making mistakes. Do not let anyone clip your wings; you’re going to need those wings to fly into the most inaccessible places and spaces that do not want you. Do not let anyone clip your wings. Your wings are what makes you different and bold.
Do not learn to be humble. That is a lie that they tell woman and POC to keep us in line. You are so much more than what they want you believe you are. So when you begin to excel at something, pridefully walk with that knowledge. Humility is a tool of social control. Be kind. Treat people how you want to be treated, but never dull your light for someone else’s comfort. You are not dull and should not have to pretend to be, ever.
Do not let anyone tell you that the color of your skin is anything but beautiful. This skin is traced back to some of the most powerful civilizations that this world has ever known. People who do not know that will try to make you hate the color of your skin, so remind them that you are a descendant of American Indians whose power and memory must be upheld. Remind people, because they really seem to have forgotten.
Most importantly, brown girl: dance. This journey you’re on is hard. Being brown and female in a world that prefers white men means that you have the cards stacked against you, so learn to dance their ill-intentioned glares away. Dance till you can no longer feel them. Dance your way toward the revolution. Your sisters have been waiting for you.
A Woke Brown Girl
Originally published by Huffington Post.
Founder of Latina Rebels | Writer & Blogger | She/her | Nicaragüense por gracias de Dios(a) | I’m the girl your mom warned you about.
Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez is a grassroots foreign citizen, maneuvering and resisting assimilation and respectability politics through what she calls her a chonga Mujerista ethics. She is the founder of Latina Rebels, an online platform that boasts over 100k followers. She is from Managua, Nicaragua currently living in Nashville, TN. In 2015 graduated with her Masters of Divinity from Vanderbilt University’s Divinity School. Currently, she is a writer at Philadelphia Printworks, TeleSur English, SupaDaily Latina, Mitú, and Huffington Post Latino Voices. Her interests are within biopolitics as it relates to Latina embodiment, specifically concerning models of conquerable flesh around narratives of naturalization for women of color. Thus her work is around reclaiming and upholding embodied resistance, particularly within chonga and chola subcultures. Que viva la mujer!