Michelle Obama headlines voting rally at University of Miami

Former First Lady brings When We All Vote campaign to Miami

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Michelle Obama told a large crowd on Friday night at the University of Miami to get ready to vote in November. 

The country's first African-American first lady said her activism as a co-chair of When We all Vote, a nonpartisan and not-for-profit organization, is about getting young people to "hashtag it" and vote. 

Obama, 54, talked about her father, Fraser C. Robinson III, and his struggle with multiple sclerosis. The Harvard Law School graduate remembered her father's pride over not having missed a single day of work as a Chicago water plant employee. 

"Whenever election season rolled around, I saw him do the same thing. Every election day, he grabbed those crutches and inched down that same flight of stairs to vote," Obama said. "When he could, he would take me with him ... I didn't really know what any of it meant that day, but I knew it was important."

The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 9.

A small group of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students from Parkland attended the event at the Watsco Center in Coral Gables, which has a capacity for 8,000 people. For most of them, their involvement in politics started after 17 died in the Valentine's Day massacre.

"It's really important to get involved and to choose who your representatives are," Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Drew Schwartz said. 

Krishna Louis and Destiny Dallas said they view Obama as a role model. Louis was able to sneak in a hug and said she was starstruck. 

"I am able to vote now too, so I am going to be starting my first year voting," Louis said. 

Dallas said she registered to vote last year.  

"I just can't wait to exercise that right," Dallas said. 

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CORAL GABLES, FL - SEPTEMBER 28: Former first lady Michelle Obama speaks during a When We All Vote's National Week of Action rally at the Watsco Center at the University of Miami on September 28, 2018 in Coral Gables, Florida. Obama is the founder and a co-chairwoman of the organization that aims to help people register and to vote. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Other co-chairs of the organization include Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Chris Paul, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. Comedian Keegan-Michael Key and Kelly Rowland also spoke at the event. 

"You wouldn't give your crazy uncle the power to post a picture to your Instagram feed, so why would you give a stranger the power to make far more important decisions in your life?"

The large crowd laughed in unison. Obama tweeted after the event. 

"That was fun, Miami! Thank you for everything you've done to make the When We All Vote Week of Action a success," she wrote. "Now let's get out there and make sure that everyone we know votes in November for something they believe in. Text WeAllVote to 97779 or visit WhenWeAllVote.org."

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About the Authors:

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.