WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressional staffers simultaneously walked off their jobs Thursday afternoon, showing unified support for the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, two unarmed African American men who were recently killed by police officers.
The staffers reported gathered together on the steps of Capitol Hill around 3:30 pm and raised their arms in the ‘Hands Up, Don’t shoot’ gesture that has come to symbolize frustration about police brutality. Next, U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black recited a prayer, we he started off by saying: “We gather here today so that we can be the voice for the voiceless.”
One staffer commented: “We’re proud to have this moment of solidarity with the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner and the thousands of peaceful protesters around the country who are telling this country that black lives matter.”
The walkout came just days after widespread protesting in major cities across America after neither police officer in both cases was indicted by a grand jury. The cases have sparked racial tensions.
The walkout was planned by several groups within congress including the Congressional Black Associates, Senate Black Legislative Staff Caucus, and the African American Women on the Hill Network. They were also joined by those working for the Congressional Asian Pacific American Staff Association and the Hispanic Staff Association.