Senate Chaplain Dr. Barry Black led the crowd in prayer, accompanied by dozens of Congressional staff and members of Congress, including civil-rights leader Rep. John Lewis. They were gathered there, Black said, to be a "voice for the voiceless.""Forgive us when we have failed to lift our voices for those who could not speak or breathe themselves," Black prayed, making an unmistakeable reference to the case of (Eric) Garner, whose cries of, "I can't breathe!" became an animating impetus for protesters.
In 2012, staffers staged a "Hoodies on the Hill" protest to bring attention to the death of Trayvon Martin.