On Thursday (Dec. 11), several congressional staff members of color across the political aisle staged a walkout in the support of Mike Brown and Eric Garner. The protest called attention to the growing number of slain Black men at the hands of police across the nation and the lack of indictments in these cases.
News of the walkout being moving about earlier in the day, with both Democrat and Republican staffers from the House and Senate joining the effort. Dr. Barry Black, the current chaplain of the U.S. Senate, led the staffers in prayer before a media throng in Capitol Hill. Then, while on the steps of the Capitol the staffers held their hands up.
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“Democrats and Republicans across the country are incredibly frustrated by what happened in Ferguson, Staten Island, and elsewhere, and this protest reflects the mistrust they have in the integrity of the criminal justice system,” Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, said in a statement. “These congressional staffers put in incredibly long hours, nights, and weekends working to pass legislation to help people live better lives, so I fully support them taking a few moments today to pray with the Senate chaplain for Congress to take action to ensure that all Americans are treated equally before the law.”
Cummings is one of several members of Congress who requested hearings on the issues raised by Garner’s and Brown’s deaths.
Although news outlets remarked that the staffers were Black, there were Latino and white staff members peppered throughout as well.
Watch MSBNC’s airing of Dr. Black’s prayer below.