Catalina Camia, USA Today, December 11, 2014
The scene on the steps of the U.S. Capitol was like many across the country: People of color raised their hands in the now familiar “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture to protest the death of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer.
Only this protest in Washington involved congressional aides who briefly walked off their jobs Thursday–angered by the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York, and the decision by grand juries in both communities not to indict the police involved.
“Forgive us when we have failed to lift our voices for those who couldn’t speak or breathe for themselves,” said Senate Chaplain Barry Black, as he led the group of about 200 staffers and a few members of Congress in prayer.
The protest was organized by the associations representing black, Hispanic and Asian-American congressional aides and held on a busy day as the House tried to pass a massive spending bill to keep the government running.
Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and his counterparts on the Judiciary and Homeland Security panels have asked for congressional hearings on the Brown and Garner incidents.