Teens Campaign Against Fear, Bigotry in Presidential Election

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From left, Summer Chambers, Vincent Roselli and Jakob Weiss hold signs on Longhill Road while the presidential primary polling takes place at Lafayette High School. (Kirsten Petersen/ WYDaily)
(From left) Summer Chambers, Vincent Roselli and Jakob Weiss hold signs on Longhill Road while presidential primary polling takes place at Lafayette High School. (Kirsten Petersen/WYDaily)

A trio of teenagers decided casting a ballot Tuesday would not be enough to make their voices heard about the presidential election.

Rather, they made signs reading “Say No to Bigotry” and “Stand Up to Fear,” which they displayed to drivers on Longhill Road before they pulled in to vote at Lafayette High School.

Vincent Roselli, 18, said he came up with the idea for the signs Monday night. He said he had been reading polls for Super Tuesday and was upset by what he saw.

“We’re just really upset by certain candidates being really successful this campaign season,” Roselli said, without naming a candidate in particular. “Many campaigns are based on fear and bigotry but not on real policy.”

He recruited Summer Chambers, 17, and Jakob Weiss, 16, to join him on Longhill Road around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. They said the response had been mostly positive, with drivers honking and fist pumping in support.

Chambers, who was able to vote in the primary because she will be 18 years old in time for the general election, said she thinks there could be “serious repercussions” if “certain people” are elected to office.

“We’re electing the leader of the free world, a lot of people like to say,” Chambers said. “I think some people are making decisions based on what is said in the horse race of the election.”

Weiss, whose family is from Germany, held a sign reading “Elect Someone the World Can Respect.” He said Americans tend to base their vote on domestic issues and need to keep global issues in mind.

“Not only would we not be respected as much, we would lose some of our influence in the world” if the elected president is not respected internationally, Weiss said.

Although he is not old enough to vote in the primary or the general election, Weiss said he thought it was important to share his opinion on the type of person who should fill the office.

“If I could do something to help, I probably should,” Weiss said. “If there’s one day I thought we needed to do this, it’s probably today.”

The trio said they were surprised there weren’t more students at their school, Lafayette High, who wanted to join them.

“If you’re going to have the right to complain about it, did you do everything you could to stop it?” Chambers said.