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Barbershop: Inauguration and Women's March Travellers

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And now it's time for the Barbershop. That's where we ask a group of interesting folks to talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds. Today, we figure we know what's on the minds of the hundreds of thousands of people who converged on Washington, D.C., from all over the country for the inauguration yesterday and for the women's march today. So we decided to ask some folks who came for these events this weekend to join us for a shape-up today.

With us today, we have U.S. Navy veteran, Rudy Los Sorelli He's from California. Deana Hurd is a small business owner from Tennessee. They both came to town for Donald Trump's inauguration yesterday. Welcome to Washington to you both.

RUDY LOS SORELLI: Thank you.

DEANA HURD: Oh, thank you.

MARTIN: And you're both so appropriately attired. I love the red, white and blue. Lots of color in the studio today. Also with us are Brittany Crowley Dodds - she's a school psychologist from Kentucky - and Dawn Ressel, a software designer from Florida. They're both in town for the women's march in Washington. Thank you both so much for coming as well. And it's a little chilly, but thank you both so much. And...

BRITTANY DODDS: Thank you.

MARTIN: ...We're sure you're not too sorry to be in a warm studio at the moment. Thank you both. And what's really fun is that all of you are participating in these big events for the first time. So we're really excited to speak with all of you. And I want to start with the people who attended the inauguration. Let's just go - Rudy, why don't you start. What made you want to come?

LOS SORELLI: I was invited here by a very good friend. I attended both the Freedom and the Liberty inauguration - excuse me - balls. And it was wonderful. It was more than I ever expected. It was done very well, very classy. And I was very proud to be here.

MARTIN: And what about you, Deana?

HURD: Well, I just wanted to participate in the process. I just think it's awesome that we live in a country where we have the opportunity to come and see, you know, the process take place. And it was beautiful, and it was very - in the area I was - it was a very peaceful, patriotic celebration.

MARTIN: OK. And what about our protesters? Let me go to you. Brittany, how about you? What was it that made you want to come to this? I know you've been to Washington, D.C., before but this was your first protest. What made you want to come?

DODDS: I recognized the historical significance that this event would have, and I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted my voice to be a part of a group that was advocating for something larger than ourselves.

MARTIN: Brittany, what about you? What made you want to come?

DAWN RESSEL: Well, I, you know, first heard about the march on Facebook after the election. And many of my friends were feeling despair and fear about what would happen next in our country. And I saw this as an opportunity to become part of a community, a large community of people, like-minded people who want to stand up for what we believe is right.

MARTIN: And, Dawn, is what - who's standing up for what you believe is right. Dawn, I'm so sorry.

RESSEL: That's OK.

MARTIN: We just met a few minutes ago. I apologize. That was Dawn Ressel who was talking just now. You mentioned Facebook and Twitter, and there has been a big debate on social media about some people who were saying, you know, it's great that there are all these marchers exercising their First Amendment right to protest. Other people are saying that they think it's kind of disrespectful that there should have been at least some kind of moment of pause where people respect the peaceful transition of power and respect the person who holds the office.

You know, Rudy, I'm really glad that you're here because you actually participated in both events. You went to the inauguration, and then you went to the march, as I understand it, on behalf of your daughter who was not able to attend and wanted some representation of the family. So I want to ask you this question. I mean, do you see a conflict there between going to the inauguration on the one hand and protesting on the other?

LOS SORELLI: No. I feel that as an American you need to look at all sides and facets of our system, democracy, our right for our First Amendment to express our self. If we ever lost that in our country, we would truly, truly lose something big. As a 150 percent Trump supporter, I do feel that looking at what I saw today there was a little bit of - quite a bit of disrespect out there today. And it kind of touched me in my heart.

MARTIN: Was it a little hard seeing some of the anti-Trump signs? I mean, I must say that I was out there myself. And humor seemed to be the order of the day. There were a lot of signs that were funny, but there were some that had, you know, profanities directed at the new president. Was that a little hard?

LOS SORELLI: Well, that's what disappointed me a bit because there were a lot of children marching, younger children with their parents. But the - there were these like plastic tape they were using with vulgarity on it as bandanas. And I find that very saddening. I think - I don't think our children should be shown this at such a young age.

MARTIN: Deana, what about you?

HURD: Well, I think the timing is probably perfect, and the reason I say that is because the whole world is looking at Washington and how awesome that you can have a peaceful transition of power one day and the next day people can also, you know, voice their opinions on their issues. So I think the timing would be fine.

MARTIN: Brittany, what about you? What do you think about that argument? I wondered if any of the people that you communicate with on social media - did they - did anybody challenge your being here? And I know that there are some who say, look, if the situation were reversed and Hillary Clinton had won the White House that a lot of the people protesting would have been kind of offended if people came out the very next day to to protest her taking the office, just as some, you know, some people were offended when they saw President Obama's limousine heading to Andrews Air Force Base for the customary departure.

People were, you know, we - a lot of our correspondents saw some gestures that weren't particularly nice and some comments directed that weren't particularly nice. What do you think about that?

DODDS: I mean, regarded - with regard to the timing, I think it was very pertinent that it followed the inauguration. I think that it was done to kind of follow that momentum. With - as far as my experience at the march today, I found it to be a very emotional and empowering event. Everyone I encountered was in good spirits. They were encouraging. They were open to dialogue and to communication. So I thought it was very well done and well orchestrated.

MARTIN: Dawn, what about you? What about the argument about the timing?

RESSEL: Well, I don't think that this women's march was about Donald Trump to be honest with you. I think it's so much bigger than him, and it's really about the policies that we believe he's going to enforce and we disagree with, as well as his administration - what they stand for. And I think that it's about preserving our democracy for, you know, the people - the generations after us. So I think it's - the timing is appropriate, but it's not directly tied to Donald Trump.

MARTIN: So before we let each of you go - as we mentioned that all of you are kind of first-time participants in a big event like this - what is next for you? Is this kind of - is this it or is there something that comes next? So Dawn, why don't I go to you first? Is there something that comes next or is this kind of - is this it for now?

RESSEL: I actually have the same question. I would love to see more things happen that make us feel like we're connected to each other. And I think that the events as they unfold over time are going to have to be nimble, and we're going to have to respond as we feel appropriate.

But I think this event was a great way to prove to ourselves and really to the world that we do have the power to organize, and we do have the power to use our voices. And so I think this is going to start a great wave of momentum.

MARTIN: Brittany, what about you?

DODDS: I completely agree with Dawn. I certainly hope this is not the end for me, personally, and for the movement at large.

MARTIN: Deana, what about you?

HURD: Well...

MARTIN: I certainly do hope you continue to be as fabulous as you are today which...

HURD: Well, thank you.

MARTIN: ...I wish I could describe...

HURD: I appreciate that.

MARTIN: ...The blue T-shirt and the kind of the red and white-striped vest with some red, white and blue Mardi Gras beads and a fabulous kind of fascinator in your hair that includes a red canary, so I do hope the fabulousness will continue. But...

HURD: Well, that is something that, you know, just reflects my personality. But just moving forward, I'm excited about the next four years. I'm hoping everybody can unite behind their new president because his success will mean success for the country. And I really believe there's - everyone in this room wants that.

MARTIN: All right. Rudy, what about you?

LOS SORELLI: As a - excuse me - as someone who was not born in this country - I was born in Tijuana (ph), Mexico - my mother came to this country legally and brought us here legally. I joined the United States Navy as a resident alien, and...

MARTIN: I'm sorry. Did you say legally or illegally?

LOS SORELLI: Legally.

MARTIN: Legally. OK.

LOS SORELLI: I came here as a legal resident alien.

MARTIN: OK. OK.

LOS SORELLI: I joined the United States Navy as a resident alien, and I saw the pride that you could have for our country as a patriot and seeing how other countries live and how their systems are. Listening to Mr. Trump's speech yesterday, I believe he was inclusive of all peoples and for the moving forward of our country.

And I believe that the best is in front of us. I think the best is in front for my family and all my friends. And I'm very, very happy to be in the United States and that Mr. Trump is president.

MARTIN: Well, I'm very happy to welcome all of you to Washington, D.C. I know you didn't come here just to see me, but I'm glad you did come to see us. And I'm glad that we were able to have the kind of conversation among all of us that, unfortunately, seems to be, you know, all too rare - people with different views all coming together to have a good conversation. So I hope that continues.

That's Rudy Los Sorelli, Deana Hurd. They came here for the Trump inauguration. Brittany Crowley Dodds and Dawn Ressel came here for the women's march, the protest. They were all here in our Washington, D.C., studios today. I thank you both so much.

HURD: Thank you.

DODDS: Thank you.

MARTIN: I thank you all so much for joining us.

LOS SORELLI: Thank you so much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.