To show their solidarity in the wake of the Grand Jury decision over the cases of Mike Brown and Eric Garner, African American Congressional staffers staged a walkout Thursday in front of Capitol Hill steps. That’s correct we said Washington, D.C.
As black staffers on Capitol Hill, we saw a stark disconnect,” the event organizer said.”While we hold educational credentials and broad access in the overall political system, often when we walk outside, we contend with the fact we are seen dangerous, merely because of the color of our skin.”
Staffers compromised of Capitol Hill Associations: the Congressional Black Associates, Senate Black Legislative Staff Caucus, the Brooke-Revels Society, the Congressional African Staff Association, and the African American Women on the Hill Network. These staffers work everyday to represent African Americans on Capitol Hill. The protest was also joined by members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Staff Association and the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association.
Senate Chaplain Dr.Barry Black led the crowd in prayer.”Forgive us when we have failed to lift our voices for those who could not speak or breathe themselves”, making a referencing to the last words of Eric Garner.The crowd included dozens of Congressional staff and members of Congress, including civil-rights leader Rep. John Lewis. Black said the members gathered there to be “a voice for the voiceless.”
“Black staffers on Capitol Hill wanted to do something in support of ongoing national and global protest against police aggression,”said an organizer before the protest.”Many of us felt we needed to stand with others who were taking on the issue of police abuse and do it here, where we work, even though not all of us have had that same experience, personally. Everyone I talked to has known someone who was directly impacted.”
After the prayer on Thursday, staff members stood outside in the iconic Hands up,Don’t Shoot pose.Also, in 2012 the aides rallied with hoodies on the steps, in reaction to Trayvon Martin.
The organizers decided that the protest would not be held when the Congress employees were on a recess. As of right now for Congress, there currently debates being held on a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown, and a bill is also being looked at to authorize the president to use military force against militant group ISIS in Iraq ans Syria.