CHARLESTON, S.C. (CN) - Katie Preston couldn't believe her eyes. Eleven months ago she'd been shocked into political activism by the election of Donald Trump as president. Now, on a Facebook timeline, she was being told that Steve Bannon, executive chairman of Breitbart News and chief architect of Trump's victory was coming to her hometown for a Friday night speech at the Citadel.
"I was taken aback," Preston says.
"I mean, he's just such a nasty guy. Horrible about women. Horrible about Jewish people. Minorities. And he's going to be speaking just down the street from the Mother Emanuel AME Church, where nine people were murdered by a white supremacist," she says.
"I mean, c'mon. Don't bring him here. It's a slap in people's faces," she adds.
Preston is the chairperson of Indivisible Charleston, a grassroots group that seems to confirm an adage attributed to Hunter S. Thompson that all political movements give rise to an anti-movement of equal and opposite force.
"We're part of the resistance," Preston says with a laugh as she pulls up the group's website to quote its mission statement word-for-word.
"Indivisible Charleston seeks to mobilize citizens in the Tri-County area to participate in the democratic process, to promote systemic equity and justice, and facilitate civil discourse in the political arena," she says.
"So this -- this group, your role in it -- is a direct reaction to the Trump election?" a visitor asks.
"You bet ya," she says.
Bannon was invited to Charleston by the student-led Citadel Republican Society to speak at its annual "Patriot's Dinner." He'll be making remarks at the college's Holliday Alumni Center. It wasn't until after he accepted the invitation that the school itself, one of the South's most historic colleges, got wind of his imminent arrival.
Citadel president Lt. Gen. John Rosa has since expressed regret over not getting in front of the invitation earlier, but said in a statement that it would be wrong to intervene and try to keep Bannon away.
He said college does not endorse political figures or partisan points of view and is committed to academic freedom and freedom of expression.
Brady Quirk-Garvan, chairman of the Charleston County Democratic Party, said he was disappointed the Republican Society invited Steve Bannon to come speak at the Citadel.
"Bannon is an unabashed white nationalist and racist, and he is not welcome in Charleston. The Republican Society should be ashamed for bringing this racist bigot to the Holy City," Quirk-Garvan said.
But Charleston GOP Party Chairman Larry Kobrovsky said condemning Bannon before he speaks isn't fair.
"There is so much noise about who or what Bannon is," he said. "Let the guy speak and let people draw their own conclusions. To suggest that the guy couldn't come and speak is repulsive. We should hear from everybody, but I reject any kind of racial nationalism -- white, black or Hispanic."
Preston got on the phone with local Democrats and Pastor Thomas Dixon, co-founder of People United to Take Back Our Community, an organization originally founded to combat neighborhood crime, but has widened its mandate to address a wide range of local issues.