Congressional Staff Stage Walkout To Protest Police Killings Of Brown And Garner

A group of black congressional staffers and many Capitol employees stood on the House steps on Thursday and raised their hands in the air in protest of the police killings of unarmed black men.

The gathering of more than 100 men and women bowed their heads as Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black prayed.

[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Barry C. Black” author_title=”Senate Chaplain”]

Forgive us when we have failed to lift our voices for their who couldn’t speak or breathe for themselves… May we not forget that in our history injustice has often been maintained because good people failed to promptly act.


Black emphasized the word “breathe,” a reference to the last words of Eric Garner, who died after he was put into a chokehold by a police officer in New York, according to the Washington Post.

The demonstration was organized by the Congressional Black Associates and several other groups that represent minority employees of Congress, including the Congressional Asian Pacific American Staff Association and the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association. The move was designed to show support for nation-wide protests following the deaths of Garner and 18-year-old Michael Brown, whose death in Ferguson was the inspiration for their gesture on the House steps.

The demonstrators, who did not speak, included Representatives Joaquin Castro and Marc Vaesey, both Democrats representing Texas, and Representative Elijah Cummings, a Democrat representing Maryland. They were supported but not joined by Representative John Lewis (D-Georgia), who fought to end racial discrimination and segregation in the South in the 1960s, according to CNN.

One congressional staffer told the Huffington Post, “We’re coming out here to let them know, no, it’s not business as usual, our lives matter, we’re asserting our humanity and our dignity… It could have been any one of us who was Eric Garner, who was Mike Brown.”

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