For Kyshia Lineberger, it’s a trip to celebrate, to bask in the conservative change in government that she worked hard to make happen.
“I was part of groups in North Carolina – Next GOP and N.C. GOP – that supported Donald Trump from the very beginning,” said Lineberger, president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Republican Women. “I just feel going to the inauguration is seeing everything all the way through.”
For Gail Summerskill, it’s a journey to demonstrate, a moment to denounce a change in the political winds that she fears will trample on the freedoms of women, minorities and others.
“I haven’t heard anything from Trump that advocates women’s rights or human rights,” said Summerskill, 63, an English professor at a Strayer University campus in Charlotte. “He seems anti-rights except if it has to do with making money.”
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Lineberger and Summerskill will be among the scores of Charlotteans who’ll travel to the nation’s Capital next weekend for dueling purposes – the inauguration of Donald Trump as 45th president of the United States and the Women’s March on Washington.
This is a great opportunity as Republicans to go and celebrate a major milestone in our country’s history in a city that we love so much. Politically-speaking, we’re very excited about the opportunities that Donald Trump is bringing to Washington. We’re excited about the political change we anticipate to see under his leadership
Charlotte resident Chris Turner, who’ll attend Trump’s inauguration with his wife, Savannah
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to crowd the National Mall Friday to witness Trump take the oath of office, signaling the culmination of a bruising and often controversial campaign season and the beginning of a new administration.
The following day, an estimated 200,000 people will gather for a march that organizers say isn’t specifically anti-Trump. Instead, they bill it as a demonstration against the language used during the election cycle that “insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us – immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault.”
For Linda Jones, the weekend is all about Trump. Jones, her husband, two children and daughter-in-law plan to be on the Mall for Trump’s inauguration, having secured tickets from Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C. A former Texas resident, she even purchased tickets for that state’s inaugural ball.
Jones attended both of former President George W. Bush’s inaugurations in 2001 and 2005, but says Trump’s pending swearing-in has a different feel to her.
“Trump makes me feel like Ronald Reagan did – the hope, the love of country, all those things that are near and dear to my heart,” the 65-year-old Charlotte resident said. “I just want to witness it, even though he (Trump) will be a tiny speck from where I’ll be.”
I really feel like it’s important for numbers of people to let President-elect Trump know…that we are watching him and we will not put up with going back, losing any of our rights.
Cindy Thomson, a Charlotte NOW member who organized a bus to carry 57 people to the Women’s March on Washington
While Trump gives Jones hope, the president-elect makes Theresa Tate Hemingway anxious because of his campaign rhetoric and the people he’s selected to serve in his administration.
She’s going to the women’s march with her husband, Bill, twin 16-year-old sons, and 20-year-old daughter because “we’re very much concerned about Muslim Americans, African-Americans and our LGBT community and what might happen in the next few years.”
“We’re all anxious and I want them to see there are a lot of people who feel like us and who want to make a difference and watch out for other people,” said Hemingway, a Charlotte barista. “There are more of us out there who didn’t vote for Trump than who did and there are a lot of us who are motivated about this. But it’s still pretty scary.”
Summerskill agrees. She’s driving from Charlotte with two friends and joining her daughter, a Washington resident, to participate in the women’s march because they feel women’s rights will be under attack during the Trump administration.
As a candidate, Trump opposed legal abortion and vowed to appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision upholding abortion rights.
I’m very aware that there’s large portion of Americans who feel the glass is half empty as far as us going into this administration. I think that’s a good thing, I’m fine with that. That means Trump is going to have to work harder to prove them wrong, and he will.
Kyshia Lineberger, president of Charlotte-Mecklenberg Republican Women
Vice president-elect Mike Pence told a gathering of faith-based voters in September that “I want to live to see the day that we put the sanctity of life back at the center of American law and we send Roe versus Wade to the ash heap of history where it belongs.”
“I grew up with a mother who was very active in women’s rights. My stepfather was an OB-GYN and he opened the first Planned Parenthood office in Upstate New York,” said Summerskill. “I know many young women now who are stocking up on birth control because they’re afraid they’re not going to be able to get it.”
Summerskill said she was unsure about whether she’ll venture to Trump’s inauguration to protest at the event.
But Chris Turner, 34, said he and his wife, Savannah, 28, may watch some of the women’s march events after attending Trump’s inauguration and celebrating the “four, hopefully eight years” of his administration.
“While I may disagree with some of the opinions and some of the people there, their positions politically, we’re very excited to see some great things occurring there,” Turner said. “There are voices that want to be heard. There are people who want to hear those voices, and we celebrate that as part of our country’s structure. Hopefully, those that are attending the march on Saturday also will watch the inauguration Friday to hear directly from our incoming president and take away some ideas there.”
For Anne McCanless, the next weekend’s activities will be a teaching moment. A history teacher at Charlotte’s Providence High School, she’ll travel with 40 students by bus to see Trump’s inauguration and the pomp and protests surrounding it.
She’s ferried students to inaugurations before, but she says this one is different largely because of the tone and tenor of a bruising presidential election that split many families, friends and co-workers across the country.
I’m just curious to find out whether or not he’s going to start to act presidential or if he’s just going to rant and kind of treat it like a rally rather than a sacred moment in history where he’s taking office like other presidents have done.
Matt Boerio, 18, a Trump voter and Providence High School senior who’ll attend the inauguration
The divides were no different at Providence High. Several students accompanying McCanless backed Trump while others were staunch Hillary Clinton supporters.
“Some of my fellow students know I voted for Trump, and they couldn’t talk to me, but now we’re pretty open about it,” said Matt Boerio, 18, a Providence High senior. “The students who are going on this trip are obviously politically active and have their opinions. We’re all friends, and we can have differences. On that long bus ride, we’ll probably have some debates, but it will all be in good fun, I’d say.”
Saniye Wilson, a 17-year-old Providence High senior, was crushed that Clinton lost the election, but that hasn’t dampened her excitement of traveling to see Trump’s inauguration.
“I’ve never been to an inauguration and I think it’s awesome to see it happen, even if I totally don’t support the candidate that won,” said Wilson, who’s the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board’s first student adviser and secretary of the Mecklenburg Teen Democrats. “It’s still a part of history, and I really love politics.”
Staff writers Jim Morrill and Ann Doss Helms contributed.
Donald Trump’s Inauguration
When: Friday. The ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. with opening remarks starting at 11:30. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the oath of office to Trump at noon.
How to watch: The major television and cable networks will cover the event.
Key speakers: Readings and benedictions from the Rev. Franklin Graham, president and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association; Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center; and Bishop Wayne T. Jackson of Great Faith Ministries International.
Readings and invocations are scheduled from His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the archbishop of New York; Dr. Samuel Rodriguez, president of National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; and Pastor Paula White of the New Destiny Christian Center.
Performers: Jackie Evancho, the 2010 runner-up from NBC’ “America’s Got Talent”; the Rocketts; and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. More than 8,000 performers and participants are expected to march in the inaugural parade.
Women’s March on Washington
When: Saturday, Jan. 21, starting at 10 a.m. at Independence Avenue and Third Street, S.W., near the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.
What’s it about: What started as a Facebook page has morphed into an event in which an estimated 200,000 people will gather in Washington to celebrate women’s rights and protest language used during the election cycle that “insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us – immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault.”
Key attendees: Gloria Steinem and Harry Belafonte are honorary co-chairs for the event, though a Belafonte assistant told The New York Times Monday that he hasn’t decided whether he will attend.
Actress America Ferrera is chair of the march’s “artist table.” Celebrities such as Cher, Katy Perry, Frances McDormand, Julianne Moore and Scarlett Johansson they plan to participate in the event.