Junior Alexa Garcia has won a $2,000 grant from My Daughter, Your Daughter — a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering, liberating, and helping to shape the futures of young women — for her book The Life of Being a Polkadot and work to raise awareness of issues surrounding race and diversity.
Alexa’s reflective and empowering book tells the story of a girl named Lexy, whose grandparents came from the Dominican Republic to the U.S. to live “the American dream.” While her family is successful, Lexy’s encounters with racism and microaggressions cause her to change how she thinks, acts, and looks in order to fit in.
After Lexy’s parents point out how she has changed, “Lexy talks about her experiences, analyzes her life, and starts from scratch again,” explains Alexa. Lexy realizes that she doesn’t need to wear makeup or style her hair in a certain way to feel good — she just needs to be honest and confident in her own skin. Alexa continues, “It’s a story meant to tell readers that they’re not alone, to not change who they are. I wanted to share a message to be true to yourself, to boldly represent yourself and who you are, and to be proud to stand out, even if it’s difficult.”
Alexa had been working on her book for two years, when her mother’s friend suggested that she submit it to a writing competition for girls ages 13-25 sponsored by My Daughter, Your Daughter.
She is still shocked by her win, reflecting, “I was so surprised when I received an email that I’d won, especially in a competition open to college students!” Alexa attended the organization’s awards dinner, was interviewed in Spanish and English, and networked to discuss having her book published — she looks forward to doing that this summer!
Presently, Alexa is working independently with public schools in the City to speak with students ages 12-14 and teachers about the nuances of race, and conducting writing and group discussions about microaggressions and the importance of empowering young people of color. That’s a big undertaking all on her own!
We applaud Alexa for her commitment to community outreach and for sharing her passionate messages about diversity, self-acceptance, and positive change!