UPDATED: December 11, 2014 6:58 p.m.

WASHINGTON (WNEW) — Minority congressional staffers walked out of their jobs on Capitol Hill Thursday to protest the grand jury decisions in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

About 200 workers and a few members of Congress stood on the House steps and bowed their heads as Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black prayed, “Forgive us when we have failed to lift our voices for those who couldn’t speak or breathe for themselves.” He emphasized “breathe” in a reference to Eric Garner of New York, who died after a police chokehold.

Afterward, Black said the workers were exercising their free speech rights to seek a larger conversation about the issue, which has sparked demonstrations across the country.

“Injustice has often been maintained because good people failed to promptly act,” Black said.

(Photo credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

The staffers then held up their hands, a symbol that has become as statement of solidarity against the death of Michael Brown who reportedly held his hands up before being shot to death by an officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

More From Washington

[display-posts category=”district” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”4″]

Follow WNEW on Twitter