ANSWER Chicago has led a number of local anti-Trump demonstrations. Credit: ANSWER Chicago/Facebook Credit: ANSWER Chicago/Facebook

Activists gathered behind the Art Institute along Columbus Drive Thursday afternoon to board buses bound for Washington, D.C., as part of a trip the local branch of Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) had organized to protest President-elect Donald Trump’s Friday inauguration on Capitol Hill.

Chris Cholewa, a DuPage County resident and two-time Obama voter who said he’d campaigned for Bernie Sanders during the presidential primary, was among those who’d claimed a seat. “I’m taking the bus because I care about the unfortunate, bad way this country is headed,” he said. “It’s our right as American citizens to protest and to make our voices heard.”

ANSWER Chicago coordinator John Beacham said the 700-mile trek to the nation’s capital is well worth the time and effort as a way of telling the new president and his administration that the country “will not go backward.” “We feel, considering the fact that Trump . . . has an openly racist, bigoted administration, that it is important he is protested as forcefully as possible,” he said. “It will send a signal to him and others that we can, and will, resist.”

[content-1]The group had even set up a system for online “bus scholarship” donations, which allowed supporters to help younger demonstrators cover the $120 fare.

“It’s important that we show in numbers our opposition to this administration,” said another bus rider, Amy Dean of Oak Park. “The world is watching us.”

“The heart of this fight,” Dean continued, “is going to be in D.C. When people look back and they say, ‘Well, how many people were at the Women’s March?,’ the count will be focused on D.C.—and I want to be one of those people counted.”

Those traveling to Washington, D.C., with ANSWER said they intend to demonstrate at two permitted locations along the inauguration parade route, including the U.S. Navy Memorial.

“All over the world we’re seeing protests,” Dean said. “It’s encouraging. It shows that there’s more of us than there are of them. There’s more of us who are standing for love and peace and acceptance.”