WASHINGTON – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wore red. Many women commuting to their Washington, D.C., jobs also were clad in red. And Jody Ellenby, a teacher on strike, donned red from head to toe Wednesday as she joined a slew of protests for the national “Day Without A Woman” action.

“I hope to stand in solidarity with women who can’t strike today, and I hope to be a voice for women who have seen violence in the past,” said Ellenby, a fifth-grade D.C. charter school teacher. “I am a privileged person, but I hope to use that privilege to stand for others who may not be able to.”

This multifaceted day of protest started with organizers of the post-Inauguration Day women’s marches that drew millions around the world. Organizers are now calling for women and their allies to come together for a “one-day demonstration of economic solidarity.”

Women who couldn’t join the strike were urged to participate by wearing red – a color that symbolizes “revolutionary love and sacrifice,” organizers said – and spending money at small and women-owned businesses.

Ellenby planned to be outside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, where Pelosi and other women in Congress are expected to host a news conference and rally to commemorate International Women’s Day. Later, Ellenby will join labor organizers outside the U.S. Department of Labor to spotlight female workers’ rights, including pay equity, a livable wage and protections against workplace violence.

On the steps of the Capitol, Pelosi encouraged more women to run for office, saying “nothing is more wholesome to the political process.” She said empowerment for young girls often begins with education.

“People would say to me ‘if you ruled the world, what one thing would you do to make the future better?’ That’s an easy answer: The education of girls,” Pelosi said.

Another rally took place Wednesday near the White House at Freedom Plaza, where more than three dozen groups joined to protest the “Mexico City policy,” known as the “global gag rule” by critics, which states that foreign nonprofits providing abortions will forfeit aid from the U.S. government. President Donald Trump reinstated the Reagan-era rule on one of his first days as president.

Hundreds of women clad in red then marched to Lafayette Park in front of the White House to protest the policy.

“Resist Trump, stop the gag,” they chanted.

Organizers of the march urged attendees to “march in to Congress” and press legislators to overturn the order.

“We are celebrating International Women’s Day in the only way we know how,” yelled Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women. “We are resisting.”

A.J. Verdelle, a District native and creative writing professor at Morgan State University, was on strike, saying she would be attending three protests Wednesday. She carried a sign that read “women count,” featuring science symbols.

“It was a hard decision,” she said of skipping work. “But because the Republicans have Congress and the presidency, people in the streets are our best bet.”

Teacher Pia Martin greets students as they arrive to school at the Science Leadership Academy as teachers take part in “A Day Without a Woman” demonstration in Philadelphia, Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Organizers of January’s Women’s March are calling on women to stay home from work and not spend money in stores or online to show their impact on American society. 

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