Minority congressional staffers plan walkout in wake of Brown, Garner decisions
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Congressional staffers plan to walk off their jobs Thursday afternoon to show their support for the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner in the wake of the decision by two grand juries not to indict the police officers responsible for their deaths, according to three staffers who plan to participate in the event.
The planned walkout comes after days of protests across the country, including in Washington, D.C., where demonstrators have marched through downtown, blocking roads and bridges on an almost nightly basis since last Wednesday's decision by a grand jury in Staten Island not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the chokehold death of Garner.
\"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,\" said one staffer who was helping to plan the event.
The Congressional Asian Pacific American Staff Association and the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association joined black staffers and the Congressional Black Associates in planning the event, which is set to take place at 3:30 p.m., and is expected to draw at least 50 people. A staffer who planned to attend the protest said it was important to show support across racial lines.
\"I believe it's important, because what affects one community really affects the entire country,\" the staffer told CNN. \"It's not just one group of minorities that's affected. How one group is treated affects Asians, Hispanics, women. It's important that we show our solidarity and come together and really speak out about the injustices that are being done.\"
The group will gather in front of the Capitol and plan to take a photo at 345 p.m. U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black is expected to pray for the grieving families and to pray for peace.
\"We're not trying to cause any type of controversy,\" one staffer told CNN. \"We're just trying to highlight this issue, to show solidarity with people who have been affected.\"
Chaplain Black has drawn attention before for his topical prayers. Last year during the budget battle that shut down the government for 16 days, he opened each session with a prayer appealing the lawmakers to end the impasse.
\"Obviously, there are probably some people who feel that my prayers should not have been as pointed as they were,\" Black told CNN's Anderson Cooper after the shutdown had ended. \"My prayers simply reflect the reality of the environment that I am in.\"
Black could not be reached immediately reached for comment ahead of the event.