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SWFL Student Activists Meet the MSD Peers Who Inspired Them

Sarajane Sullivan
The Road to Change voter registration table in Punta Gorda on Tuesday, June 26

Student activists were able to meet the peers who inspire them Tuesday at a Road to Change tour stop in Punta Gorda. Student survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting embarked on a statewide bus tour from Parkland last week to encourage young people to vote. 

16-year-old Lianna Hubbard was at the group's voter registration event Tuesday afternoon.

“School shootings have happened my entire life," Hubbard said. "I am living in the post-Columbine age. I am growing up in the post-Coumbine age. I was born one year after Columbine happened. My sister was born the year Columbine happened.”

Hubbard was Charlotte County’s local lead for the March For Our Lives Road to Change tour.

“This is the world we live in, and I just thought I had to accept that world," Hubbard said. "But, the Parkland kids showed me that I have a voice that is valuable to people, that I am allowed to speak up and I am allowed to make change. I’m meeting the people who changed my life, and I want them to change other people’s lives.”

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are touring the U.S., encouraging young people to register to vote in communities like Punta Gorda. 13-year-old Devyn Klingaman, with her friend 12-year-old Megan O’Donnell, said they’re already looking forward to being 16, not just to drive, but because it's the earliest someone can pre-register to vote.

“I really think it’s interesting because kids and teenagers are the ones who are really talking about these issues," Klingaman said. "And, it’s our lives and futures, and I think we should change the things that are currently happening.”

Abigail Kirshy was one of Charlotte County's student facilitators. She said making change will be a long process, and she intends to stick it out.

“Someone told me once that the greatest thing is just to change someone’s mind every day instead of trying to change a whole room of people first," Kirshy said. "You’ve got to start small, and that’s what we’ve done here. And, it’s turned out pretty great.”

There are two Road to Change tours happening simultaneously — one throughout Florida, the other across the country. On this same day, the counterpart group stopped in Moorhead, Minnesota.

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