Broward County

Parkland teens take their voting message to Lincoln Road

Hannah Karcinell, 18, a recent graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, helps Miriahjo Reiss, 25, to register to vote on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach on Sunday, June 24, 2018. The South Beach event was the first stop on the Florida leg of group's “Road to Change” tour,  where they aim to educate Floridians, across all 27 congressional districts about gun violence, and register voters before mid-term elections.
Hannah Karcinell, 18, a recent graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, helps Miriahjo Reiss, 25, to register to vote on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach on Sunday, June 24, 2018. The South Beach event was the first stop on the Florida leg of group's “Road to Change” tour, where they aim to educate Floridians, across all 27 congressional districts about gun violence, and register voters before mid-term elections. erua@miamiherald.com

If it was any other summer, Lauren Hogg would be lounging on a California beach enjoying the sand and the sun. Daniel Duff would likely be playing his guitar and helping with the School of Rock's summer camp. Ryan Servaites said he probably would have caught up on reading and spent time with his friends.

But this isn't just any summer.

For these Marjory Stoneman Douglas Senior High soon-to-be sophomores, this summer is about so much more. It's about hitting the pavement, pushing for commonsense gun laws and registering voters. Its about "being the voice for the voiceless" after confessed shooter Nikolas Cruz used a AR-15 to kill 17 students and faculty at their Parkland school Feb. 14.

"It's about making people realize they do have a voice and that is their vote," said Lauren, 15, whose brother David Hogg has become one of the most well-known faces of the March For Our Lives Movement. "We are trying to use our pain as power. We don't want anyone else to have to go through what we've gone through."

The teens spent Sunday walking up and down Lincoln Road wearing bright yellow shirts and carrying clipboards asking scantily-clad beach-goers, festively-dressed World Cup lovers and strolling tourists if they wanted to make their voice heard.

"Are you registered to vote?" Daniel asked a couple, who swiftly walked by. "Thanks," he said after they said yes."

The event was part of the student's national and statewide summer bus tour to register teens to vote in time for the midterm elections dubbed "Road to Change."

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A tent set up by student activists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and March for Our Lives on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, on Sunday, June 24, 2018. The group’s South Beach event was the first stop on the Florida leg of their “Road to Change” tour, where they aim to educate Floridians, across all 27 congressional districts about gun violence, and register voters before mid-term elections. Ellis Rua erua@miamiherald.com

After kicking off the Florida leg of the tour Friday, a group of about 15 teens spent the weekend spreading their message in Miami-Dade including Sunday's stop on Lincoln Road and a stop Saturday at Wynwood Walls.

The teens will hop on a bus Monday and head to Naples, and the continue on their journey across the state. They hope to make more than 20 stops during the summer. When the kids leave Monday, they will get a special escort by Manny Oliver, whose son Joaquin Oliver lost his life in the shooting.

The Florida leg of the tour is running in tandem with the nationwide tour, which has teens stopping in 20 different states.

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Mathew Yeary, 18, a vendor on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach registered to vote on Sunday, June 24, 2018 thanks to actvists from March for Our Lives. Student activist from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and March for Our Lives, searched for unregistered voters on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach. The group’s South Beach event was the first stop on the Florida leg of their “Road to Change” tour, where they aim to educate Floridians, across all 27 congressional districts about gun violence, and register voters before mid-term elections. Ellis Rua erua@miamiherald.com

Matthew Yeary, who just turned 18 in May, who was working at a nearby tea and spice stand, saw the teens setting up their booth and seized the chance to register.

"I think they have done more than than anyone else," said Yeary, of the Parkland teens. "We all need to step up."

For more information on March For Our Lives, visit https://marchforourlives.com.

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