Area residents to celebrate or protest Trump’s first day

In less than a week, President-Elect Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as president of the United States. Meanwhile, area residents are planning protests and celebrations alike for his first days in office.

Afiq Adi Arsall, of Warren County, said he and some friends of his from out of town are headed to the capital Friday to celebrate Trump’s inauguration.

“I think Trump is the most amazing president we’re ever going to have, so I’ve got to go,” he said. “It’s a once in a lifetime thing, so I’m going. I think the country has been in shambles for the last eight years, and so I think it’s wonderful.”

Conversely, Janet Heishman, of Strasburg, is taking a bus from Stephens City to Washington, D.C., for the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday.

According to a spokesperson with the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department, event organizers filed for a permit for 200,000 people to attend the march.

Heishman said there are any number of things she could be marching for, including LGBT or the rights of racial minorities, but she’s going to focus on equality for women.

“I’m going to march for my mom, for my grandmother, for my great-grandmother, and for everything they did,” she said. “We don’t want to lose any ground … We just want to let them know that we’re here, and we’re watching.”

However, Arsall said he opposes the women’s march and will protest it accordingly.

“The following day, I’m going to protest against this women’s march,” he said. “My one reason is how the women are outspoken about this transgender bill in North Carolina and one in Virginia,” he said. “I have a real strong belief against it.”

Though the Women’s March on Washington does not explicitly cite LGBT rights as its purpose, its website states some of Trump’s insulting rhetoric regarding gays and other minority groups fueled its formation.

“The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world, that women’s rights are human rights,” it states.

Representatives with the Women’s March on Washington could not be reached for comment.

Along with the Women’s March in Washington, one local organizer is forming her own women’s march in Woodstock.

Helen Jean Smith put together what she referred to as a “sister march” to the national event in the capital.

As of Friday, she said 49 people had signed up to join her at 10 a.m. Saturday as they march from the Food Lion parking lot to the old courthouse. She’s hoping at least 100 will make it out to make a statement.

“Everyone is welcome to join this march who feels we have to keep the new administration aware of the fact that a majority of people in this country want them to take a more moderate path than they’re proposing,” she said.

Trump’s inauguration ceremony will take place Friday on the west side of the U.S. Capitol building. The Women’s March on Washington will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at the intersection of Independence Avenue and Third Street SW.

Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or