05/22/2014 10:22 am ET Updated May 22, 2014

At 13, I Was Chosen To Be The Subject Of A Book About Being A Young Black Girl In America

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In 1995, a writer came looking for courage in a roomful of 13-year-old girls at a Catholic school in Brooklyn. All of us in the classroom had similar stories -- first generation daughters of immigrant parents who struggled to provide a quality education for their children, trying to find our own voices, as we watched our parents work relentless hours and maintain homes. What would make my story great enough for an author to choose for a book capturing what it’s like grow up as a young black girl in America?

That writer was xoJane Managing Editor Rebecca Carroll, and I was among the 13-year-old students that day at St. Francis of Assisi, when she came looking to find interview subjects for her book, "Sugar in the Raw: Voices of Young Black Girls in America." She engaged our small classroom in a discussion about self-confidence, identity and race in America and our very own neighborhoods.

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