Thousands of Virginians trek to D.C.; for protest and celebration

Posted at 6:50 PM, Jan 18, 2017

RICHMOND, Va. -- Hundreds of people from Central Virginia will venture north for the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump.

Local voices from all backgrounds reached out to CBS 6 about their planned celebrations and protests this weekend.

Local mother Tracy Bowers said she first got politically active during President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign.

Presidential politics will take Bowers to D.C. this weekend; she plans on taking part in the Women's March on Washington the day after President-elect Trump is inaugurated.

Bowers does not deny that Trump won the election and will be President. However, she points to comments Trump has made during the campaign and since his electoral victory as evidence that Trump does not treat people of all backgrounds with dignity.

She said the march and other protests are aimed at highlighting that fact and activating others to get politically involved.

"I think Washington is so broken that I doubt seriously our movement will make a humongous amount of difference, but I think it will bring us a lot of support," Bowers said.

Local pastor Bishop Leon Benjamin will also be in D.C. this weekend, but instead, he will be there in celebration.

Benjamin is one of a handful of conservation African-American religious leaders from Richmond who plan on attending the inauguration in support of the president-elect.

"I'm going to be hopeful; I'm going to be excited; I'm going to be expectant, and I'm going to be prayerful," Benjamin said.

Benjamin was an early supporter of Trump's candidacy, saying at the time he thought the businessman laid out the best path forward economically and religiously.

Despite a recent dust-up between civil rights icon and Georgia Congressman John Lewis, Benjamin is calling on the African American community to work with the new administration.

"The question is, is the community ready, are other leaders ready to come to the table and lend their hand in navigating this country and taking it down the course that we know our founding fathers saw from the beginning?" Benjamin said.

Hundreds of people from Central Virginia plan to attend Trump's swearing-in ceremony Friday. Tickets for the event are distributed for free by the offices of U.S. Senators and Congressmen.

Virginia Senator Mark Warner's office said they received ore than 9,000 requests for their 400 available spots.

Senator Tim Kaine's office said they distributed more than 400 tickets. Congressman Dave Brat's office said they distributed 177 tickets.  Newly-elected Congressman Donald McEachin's office said they distributed 196 tickets.



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