Perspectiva Juvenil: A Voice for Puerto Rico’s Youth

Politics are a factor that undeniably affects the lives of every person regardless of their social demographics. It is through education and communal discourse on the subject that we can understand precisely how it affects us--how we formulate our ideas as to how we wish those politics to turn into government, and how we understand the different aspects of politics themselves. With the future of the island being so uncertain, Puerto Rico’s youth is becoming more and more a part of this conversation. Perspectiva Juvenil is the radio show where the island’s social, political, cultural ideas and its entertainment are discussed and analyzed from the youth’s perspective. I sat down with some of the panelists and special guests to discuss its creation and development, future goals and the youth’s involvement.

Perspectiva Juvenil was born in 2017 from a desire to take the conscious and educated voice of young people to a broader audience. Wilfred Torres Rosado, 26, proposed Perspectiva Juvenil to WABBA 850 A.M. as radio show in which Puerto Rico’s youth could have a place to share their opinions and debate them with one another while sharing their perspective with older audiences. Following the station’s approval of the program, Torres contacted Political Science undergraduate student, José Julián Roldán. The pair later reached out to graduate student, Solange Galoffín, and undergrad, Paola Susana Ayala, with the proposal and together became the four main panelists of the show which began airing in March 2018. Since August, Paola Susana Ayala and Solange Galoffín have been involved in internships and were therefore substituted by Ivannayelí Hernández Nieves and Alejandra Díaz, who are also Political Science undergraduate students.

 

Left to Right: José Julián Roldán, Solange Galoffín. Paola Susana Ayala and Wilfred Torres Rosado.  Photo Cred. José López

Perspectiva Juvenil is the only show on the entire West side of the island where the airtime is owned by the youth as well as produced and headlined by them. Without the radio station’s influence, the four panelists themselves decide which topics will be discussed and prepare their arguments. They choose the topic based on whatever has been relevant that week. Although the program allows for a broad variety of topics, as political scientists, it is their prerogative to consider politics throughout the discussion of all other topics. The show features correspondents like Federico de Jesús who worked for Obama’s administration as an advisor on Hispanic policy and now serves the show as a consultant on foreign policies. Perspectiva Juvenil has also featured political leaders from all three of the island’s major political parties.

One of the main goals of Perspectiva Juvenil is to not only give a voice to the four panelists, but to share the knowledge of Puerto Rico’s youth--not only in politics, thought its importance is undeniable, but also in social and cultural affairs. As Hernández described it, it is their mission to “impact and show that the youth has serious and relevant postures that should be heard.” The program has given a place for more than 20 special guests to voice their opinions and share their talents in a respectful environment. Roldán expressed his desire to “give other young people the same opportunity [he] had to express [himself]” through this radio show. Among these are Daniela Mulero Morales, Angélica Franganillo Díaz and Alejandra Franganillo Díaz.

Left to Right: Wilfred Torres Rosado, Daniela Mulero Morales, Angélica Franganillo Díaz, José Julián Roldan, Ivannayelí Hernández Nieves and Alejandra Franganillo Díaz. Photo Credit: José Lopez.

As mentioned by Mulero in the interview, “politics are an important life of everyday life that affects everybody, [including for the youth], even if they don’t study political sciences.” It is no secret that Puerto Rican politics directly affect our public university; therefore, political conversations have become more and more common among university students. Our access to affordable education is directly linked to the decisions made by our government. Consequently, it is in the hands and minds of the younger generations to educate themselves and speak up for whatever they believe in. Sadly, as Alejandra Franganillo Díaz expressed, “the youth tends to feel ignored when talking to the public.” This is why now, more than ever, we need this instrument of communication to continue to give the youth a place to voice their concerns and opinions as well as expose their talents. As Angélica Franganillo Díaz put it, the show promotes the youth as intellectual individuals who can debate and communicate calmly in spite their differences.

The radio show airs on WABBA 850 A.M. as well as through Facebook live every Friday at 5:30 P.M. which makes their audience diverse, to say the least. Through A.M. radio, they are able to reach a more adult audience which approaches people with different ideologies in the political spectrum. Through Facebook, the show reaches a younger audience which furthers the discourse among the local youth. As the show continues to develop so does the audience. So far, the show has received good feedback which Angélica Franganillo Díaz believes to be a result of “well-executed discourse and debates lead under a respectful environment.”

Left to Right: José Julian Roldán, Paola Susana Ayala, Alejandra Díaz, Ivannayelí Hernández Nieves and Wilfred Torres Rosado. Photo Credit: Jadiel Peña.

The goal projected for the show’s future is not only to extend its running time and multiply the dates on which it airs, but also to bring on more young people who can create sister programs and continue to give a voice to the youth; maybe even one day make Perspectiva Juvenil into a television program.

The fact of the matter is, Perspectiva Juvenil prevails because of the interest and passion the panelists and their guests have for the show and the topics they discuss. As Ayala stated, they have “the desire and the knowledge to explain and argue issues that are not only important to the youth but to the public at large” and, as Torres sees it, “it is our responsibility to do so.” Beyond that, Hernández explained, “it is our duty as citizens to be appraised of what is happening in our country and educate those who don’t have that knowledge.”

Tune in every Friday at 5:30 P.M. through WABBA 850 A.M. Radio or through Facebook at Perspectiva Juvenil.