A number of local women and men are preparing to make a road trip to attend the Women's March on Washington Jan. 21, the day after the inauguration of Republican President-elect Donald Trump.

"The minute I found out about it, I said I have to do this," said artist Kathleen Florance of South Thomaston.

She said the march is not to protest Trump's election, but to stand in unity on issues including women's rights, human rights in general and the environment. She said the participants are saying, "No, we're not going away!"

Jane Karker of Maine Authors Publishing said she is going because it is important not to allow Trump's actions and words to become acceptable. "We can't shrug it off," she said, adding he showed disrespect to women, the disabled and others. "Electing him put the women's movement back a step," she said; the march is a way to say, "let's go forward."

Karker and her husband, Lee Karker, are both going to the march, and she said it is a personal goal to show her daughter how she feels about women's rights.

"I went through the women's rights movement," she said. "My daughter hasn't had to be an activist," though she acknowledged her daughter has faced sexism.

Florance said her family was scared for her at first, worrying about who this large national event might draw, and whether it might be a target for violence. However, she said, once she had talked about it with her family, they were supportive. She said she feels strongly enough about the issue and the cause to face risks either from those opposed to the message or from law enforcement.

"It would be an honor to go to jail to protect what is right," she said.

Midcoast residents have been organizing sign-making parties to prepare for the protest.

Rockland artist Kim Bernard reserved a charter bus and has filled the spots with 56 Mainers ready to march for the cause.

She held a poster-painting, hat and button-making event at her studio Sunday, Jan. 15, to prepare for it.

The slogans and messages on the signs include: "Unity," "Peace," "Diversity," "Embrace all, unite," "Be vigilant, not afraid," and "Defend our values."

She has also organized scholarships for young women who could not afford to attend. Some supporters, who could not attend the march made donations to help raise $3,000, enabling 15 young women to receive the scholarships to ride the bus to D.C., she said in a press release.

Bernard is a sculptor and artist in residence at the University of New England.

In the release, she said she had not been an activist until now, but after the campaign season she could no longer sit back.

“I feel that Trump’s campaign was insulting and disrespectful to women. He does not display the decorum that our president should have. He will be our president for the next four years, and he needs to behave accordingly, with respect for women, LGBTQIA community, immigrants, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, Native, brown, black people and all those of color, the disabled, survivors of sexual assault, and anyone who is a marginalized member of our society,” said Bernard in the release.

Not everyone is traveling by bus. Florance said she had planned to go on a bus and then found out fellow South Thomaston resident Marcia Turner was driving down and had room in her car.

One of Florance's key concerns is the environment. She has been active in supporting environmental causes in the Midcoast and served on the board of the Coastal Mountains Land Trust in the 1990s. She has also done large environmental art installations.

Trump has called climate change a hoax and has selected Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. Pruitt has waged legal battles against the Obama administration over actions of the EPA and argues scientific evidence of climate change is "far from settled," according to the New York Times.

As a result, the environment has also been an issue raised among those planning to attend the march.

"All of my belief systems are being threatened," said Florance.

Mainers interested in attending the march have been organizing using Facebook pages, including "Women's March on Washington/Maine" found at: facebook.com/events/1790176321230462/

Citizens from all over the nation are expected to attend. According to the Facebook page, 2,200 are planning to go from Maine alone.

In addition, a rally is planned at the Statehouse in Augusta for those who cannot travel to Washington, to send the same message, from 10 a.m to noon. Another march is planned in Portland, and more events are expected across the country.

Daniel Dunkle can be reached at ddunkle@villagesoup.com or 594-4401 ext. 122. Follow him on Twitter @DanDunkle.