It wasn’t an easy election cycle for Vikkie Cossio.

“The night of the election results I was in disbelief and felt very helpless,” she said.

Now, Inauguration Day is only a little over a week away and with Donald Trump heading to the White House, she knew she had to join the thousands of people meeting in the nation’s capitol for the Women’s March on Washington.

“I wanted to do something and wanted to find people who felt like I felt,” she explained, “We started wondering if perhaps we might be able to fill a bus with friends and friends of friends.”

Soon, three rally buses were booked to capacity, with more than 150 people from the Bloomington-Normal area, ready for the trip from Illinois State University to Washington D.C. The march is January 21, the day after Inauguration Day. Organizer want to give people the opportunity to tell a new administration that women’s rights are human rights.

“I am so happy to share a common voice with these people and I see it as my best shot to have my voice heard,” said Cossio.

The rally buses will leave from ISU on Friday night, and drive straight through to Washington D.C. The group will be dropped off on the metro, and join the crowds marching for the day, before jumping back on the bus Saturday evening. They’ll be back in Normal by Sunday morning.

Across town, a smaller group of about 15, headed by Alexis Wolstein and Stacey Hardin, is planning a similar whirlwind trip from Bloomington

Wolstein is one of the founders of Activists Mentoring Activists, a group that aims to bring activists of all ages together to learn from each other. She says she needed an outlet to express her opinions, outrage, and solutions outside of her social media bubble.

“There’s only so much that can happen from sharing a post. I know that I wanted to do something active in the sense that I was taking actual physical action,” she explained.

That’s why she and Hardin decided to bring  their group together.

“I think it’s going to be a really beneficial experience. We have everything from high school students to retirees in our group.”

The Normal group and the Bloomington group will spend January 21st marching through the streets of Washington D.C. with thousands of other people,  supporting a woman’s right to choose, the gender wage gap, and plenty of other causes.

“As Americans, this it the opportunity they gave us,” Wolstein explained. “To speak out to protest. That’s what the First Amendment is for.”

Both Wolstein and Cossio say they are hoping to see positivity and solidarity in Washington. Their hope is to bring the momentum from the march back home to Central Illinois.

“I think, ideally, this will empower people that  ‘Well, if this many people show up, I’m not alone. And if we speak loud enough, with enough voices, we’ll be heard,'” said Wolstein.

“This is the beginning. To borrow from Hamilton, ‘This is not a moment. This is a movement,” Cossio added.

There are dozens sister marches planned across the nation in support of the Women’s March. They will happen at the same time on January 21. Several are scheduled in Illinois,  including in Springfield, Urbana, and Chicago.