On Thursday afternoon, minority staffers in Congress walked out in protest of grand jury decisions in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases.
Politico reports that at 3:30 p.m., eastern time, on Thursday, December 11, members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Staff Association, the Congressional Black Associates and the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association, walked off their jobs to protest grand juries’ refusal to indict police officers in the two cases.
One staffer told CNN, “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.”
Another staffer said, “We’re not trying to cause any type of controversy. We’re just trying to highlight this issue, to show solidarity with people who have been affected.”
The staffers were joined by Senate Chaplain Barry Black, who offered a prayer during the protest. The protest also included a photo op, with staffers raising their hands in the “hands up, don’t shoot” pose adopted by protesters around the country, following the grand jury decisions.
Politico says that “at least 50 people” participated in the demonstration, although the photo that accompanies their story shows that the group was made up of at least two to three times that number. The protesters were also joined by Maryland congressman Elijah Cummings, and Georgia congressman John Lewis. Lewis is a veteran of the civil rights protests of the 1960’s.
The Congressional Black Caucus tweeted photos of the event.
This event follows a number of protests across the country in recent days. One of the most notable of those was the “die in” staged at Harvard and other medical schools across the country on December 10, which was also International Human Rights Day.
Ohio Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, summed up the feelings of many last week, when she wrote:
In the span of two weeks, this nation seems to have heard one message loud and clear: there will be no accountability for taking Black lives. As an American, it is growing increasingly difficult to believe that there is justice for all.
Image via Congressional Black Caucus/Facebook