My name is Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez, and I am a graduate student at Vanderbilt Divinity School. I was born in Managua, Nicaragua – but for 18 years, I called Miami home.
At Vanderbilt, I specifically focus on Latina embodiment and sexuality, and how we utilize our lived-experiences to understand the Divine. I identify as a chonga mujerista, meaning that my context as a Miami Latina directly impacts my theology. To be a chonga means I utilize hypervisible, hypersexualized hyperfemininity to reject assimilation while also rejecting the dominant narratives that are placed on me once I enter a room. In other words, I frame intentionally what people see and expect from me. I embody my activism, and I don’t disassociate my work from my life or the lives of my hermanas.
About two years ago, I became invested in finding community amid my predominantly white community of academics. I longed for other Latinas who were familiar with my context, my family dynamics, even my food. Initially, the Internet became my place of solace; I found Latino Rebels, CultureStrike, Presente, One Voice Radio, News Taco, and Pocho and felt invigorated. I was thrilled to read news about mi gente and find communities interested in fighting for our rights as immigrants, Spanish speakers, brown folk, mestiz@s, etc. But I also began to notice that as a female-bodied immigrant, I saw the world differently – and because of the nature of the work I do, I knew that there had to be a way to uphold my contextual reality in tandem with these conversations.
So one year ago, in May of 2013, I started the FB page Latina Rebels.
As Latinas, we are oftentimes put into two categories: maid or vixen. When I wrote the mission statement for Latina Rebels I knew this was going to be a place that disrupted those expectations that are externally placed on us. I wrote: “we are interested in disrupting the binary expectations that are placed on Latinas bodies and minds.”
After I launched Latina Rebels, I spent the year enlisting the help of like-minded Latinas living in Miami but also in cities like Chicago and Seattle. I did this because I know that I am not the sole representation of what it means to be Latina. I did this because there is no model that encompasses who we are. I tell my fellow Rebels that I only have two rules for what is posted on Latina Rebels: content should be positive and Latina-centered, and content should be authentic to THEIR context – because nobody can tell us what it means to be Latinas. (We do all of this with an awareness of the post-colonial conversation about how we perform any particular identity.)
Now, our posts range from immigration-centered calls to action, essays on identity politics, thoughts on what it means to roam the streets while brown or what it means to be a white Latina, tips for working out – or pigging out. We share the experiences of dancing, sitting, being independent, falling in love. We are straight and we are queer. We are varied.
Latina Rebels affirm and love all things that shape us and believe in fighting for la gente through complexifying what it means to be Latina. And that’s the whole point.