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This year has been chaotic for Puerto Rico― earthquakes, a global pandemic, hurricane season, and, to top it off, the general 2020 elections are just around the corner. 

 

That's right, the famous electoral period. The time in which political fanaticism takes a stroll, and citizens proclaim to be either red or blue; to blindly support X candidate without considering their proposals just because they represent "your colors or party”; to embrace a political ideal as your own, and pass it from generation to generation. These patterns have been repeated every 4 years for the past several decades by many of our relatives.

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Verano 2019 ___ #puertorico #rickyrenuncia #renunciaya #protest #boricua #march #socialjustice #somosmas #verano2019

A post shared by Mikey Cordero (@mikey.cordero) on

Image courtesy of @mikey.cordero

 

However, in many ways, this year has been an unusual one. This upcoming November, a new generation will vote. Composed of a youth that witnessed the chaos and many crises Puerto Rico has faced over time, they destroyed the notion of having to settle for less. A generation that challenged elders who say “protests don’t lead to anything” and refuse to accept their often repeated defeat: “there’s nothing we can do about it.” 

 

"I wish I could change things. The PPD and the PNP should not win again. We need some change. It is important for our generation because the current administration is ruining our Island and our future. We need to do better if we want to keep youth here," pointed out a 20-year-old student, Angélica Caraballo. 

 


Image courtesy of @mikey.cordero

 

This generation is often called “La generación del ‘yo no me dejo’.” Formed during the summer of 2019 in the streets of Puerto Rico, young faces led protests after an exposed Telegram chat revealed public officials’ corrupt and misogynistic comments. This generation made their voices heard, and managed to remove a corrupt governor without bloodshed, all within 30 days.

 

"Voting is a way to speak up for what we believe in. For me, it is the greatest form of protest. Choosing people who are competent to govern our land, that think and include youth in their plans. It is our right to do so," expressed the 21-year-old Belmalis Cartagena. 

 

"It is important to vote to make a change. People should stop voting for political parties or colors," said Alana Meléndez, a Comparative Literature student.

 

Facing the 2020 decision, the true strength of the young vote will be measured. This group will go out to the polls on November 3rd and vote judiciously. Eager to make history again, and aware that the future and well-being of their homeland is in their hands, they’re committed to do something about it. They know the time has come to separate themselves from traditional ideals, and start questioning the norms. This election year, the Generation of Change will show why it has taken the lead in the country's most powerful stories.

Mariangelie Torres Maldonado is an Information and Journalism student at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. She's an adventurous soul that loves to dance like no one is watching and owes all her energy to coffee. She aspires to become a Public Health Journalist and travel the world to learn about other cultures.
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