By Sara Tirrito
In an attempt to encourage student interest in both domestic and international politics, one graduate student launched a YouTube show called “Politics and Opinions.”
The show, created by Jenny Abamu, addresses current topics, such as intervention in Libya and disaster relief in Japan, and also provides a forum for students to share their responses, most of which are aired on the show. Feedback that is not incorporated into the show because of time constraints is posted on the “Politics and Opinions” Facebook page or shared elsewhere.
“We have a voice that we haven’t had before as far as youth are concerned,” Abamu said. “So I wanted to give youth the opportunity to share their voice and let them know people are listening to them, no matter whether it’s extreme or moderate, just … give them the voice that they don’t always get and through a medium that’s easy for them to use.”
After a suggestion from Cameroon graduate student Jessica Foumena, Abamu is currently working to interview Kah Walla, a candidate in the 2011 Cameroon presidential elections.
Foumena said she is excited her idea was accepted for the show.
“She [Walla] really tries to make sure that she’s not just a presidential candidate. She wants to engage people on Facebook and on the ground,” Foumena said. “And Kah Walla herself has been recognized internationally. She herself has an outstanding professional background.”
Through her show, Abamu said she hopes to show the younger generations how international politics relate to domestic politics and the effect they have on society.
“Just knowing that international politics do affect you and they will affect domestic politics is a very important thing,” Abamu said. “Just knowing that there’s a lot of things in our daily lives that we don’t realize are affected and changed by international politics, and being aware of those things, is important. I think just being able to understand that and make those decisions consciously thinking about the entire picture and not just the narrow scope of things is important for our youth today, society today and in the future.”
Houston senior KC Emeanuru, who follows the show through Facebook, said it provides a place for students to “learn more about [politics] in a more colloquial manner.”
“I like the fact that she’s kind of created an environment for us to express ourselves about politics and not just take a back seat to it,” Emeanuru said.
Abumu is also planning to release a book about youth revolutionaries utilizing social media to make change. She hopes to release the book in a few months.
“Just making sure youths know the influence they have and being able to take advantage of that is what my book is about,” Abamu said. “Not necessarily just a domestic scale, but the international scale as well.”
The book will be written in “text talk,” utilizing the abbreviations and symbols often applied in texting and writing on the Internet.
“I want it to have that feel of our own generation,” Abamu said. “A lot of people won’t read a book, but they’ll read 1,000 tweets, which is about the same as 10 books.”
Her inspiration for the book came from the current generation and the voice and influence it has found through media.
“I was really inspired by the things that our generation is doing online and doing in society and how we’re changing society,” Abamu said. “I love that people create things out of nothing, and it’s free and people are so willing to get involved and willing to share.”