Michelle Obama headlines voting rally at University of Miami

Former First Lady brings When We All Vote campaign to Miami

By Janine Stanwood - Anchor/Reporter, Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

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. 

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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Today, while Washington continues the process of confirming a Supreme Court Justice who stands accused of sexual assault, 10,000 young women (mostly African American and Latina and all under 18) gathered in Los Angeles to celebrate our gender, to support each other, and to plan for their future as active voters in every election, from local to federal. It’s been a damn emotional few days for most of this country, but I can’t stress enough how much positivity and passion and hope fuels this young generation. We talk a big game, but these young women are out there changing the country already. Thanks for having me @girls_build and @whenweallvote and to the amazing women I worked with today including @shondarhimes @delaneytarr @kyrahjayne_ @rhyonbrown and @daya, I am forever in awe of you. ❀️ #GirlsBuild #WhenWeAllVote

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Waiting for Michelle Obama #whenweallvote #getouttovote #sddbc

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I’m not crying 😭

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