Less than two hours after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, Patti Jadlecki was on a bus headed to Washington, D.C.
The 67-year-old Venice resident has never been to the nation’s capital before and was feeling anxious and excited.
“This is the first time I’ve ever done this,” she said, sitting in the front row of the Rally chartered bus. “That’s how strongly I feel that he’s a serious danger to our country.”
Jadlecki, along with about 50 other people, boarded the bus Friday afternoon at Bradenton’s DeSoto Square mall. They were to ride all night before arriving in D.C. at 7:30 a.m. Saturday in time for the Women’s March on Washington.
“I wanted to go to the march to express a fear that I have that a certifiably mentally unstable man is about to become president of the United States,” Jadlecki said. “Just to show solidarity and to make an impression on Mr. Trump. I won’t call him President Trump because he’s not my president, but that we are coming after him. We will fight him.”
People — the majority women — from all over the region gathered in Bradenton to travel to D.C. for Saturday’s march. While similar marches are scheduled to occur in many major cities across the United States, including Sarasota, 20-year-old Alexis Romeo said she thinks her voice will be heard the loudest in Washington.
“They are doing rallies all over America, but I feel that D.C. is the one that people are really going to hear their voices,” the St. Petersburg resident said.
While they will only be in Washington for little more than 12 hours, the sentiment felt by the travelers on Friday was the short trip would be worth it.
“I was alarmed by the tone of the campaign, and I was dismayed with the results of the election, so I just want to go to make sure that with this big presence it’s clear that we’re not going to tolerate the kinds of policies that hurt women, that hurt minorities, that hurt immigrants and that we are here,” 57-year-old Mary LaVigne said. “We are watching. We are going to participate in the democratic process to the fullest extent to make sure that vulnerable people aren’t hurt by the results of this election.”
Within a week of the Nov. 8 election, Venice resident Rebecca Hartzell knew she wanted to take action. Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington is just the start, the 45-year-old said.
“I feel like we need our voices to be heard and to know we won’t just sit back and let things happen,” she said. “We will stand up as a group.”
Englewood resident Pam Nolan, 60, said she is marching for her four grandchildren.
“I thought the decency of the American people would come through, but it didn’t so I thought I better take some action,” she said. “And I’m here today to support unity and all that is decent and good in our country.”