Unemployed Hold Prayer Vigil Before Jobs Bill Vote

(Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)

Laid-off health care providers and unemployed short-order cooks gathered in the Hart Senate Office Building late this afternoon, holding a prayer vigil ahead of tonight’s jobs vote in the Senate.

The prayer was led by Rev. Paul Sherry, director of the Interfaith Worker Justice Public Policy Office, in support of the jobs bill, urging senators to pass the bill this week.

“We commit ourselves to pray unceasingly until justice is done, until every person in our blessed land who wants and needs a job, a good job, receives a good job,” Sherry said in front of the group of about 100  who had gathered in the Hart building atrium. “It is long past time to end the suffering for so many Americans.”

Sherry said that they will “walk the halls of Congress until those elected to serve all the people listen and respond. … We will pray that those in seats of power will hear our voice.”

The event was organized by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), who gathered unemployed and underemployed workers to join the prayer vigil.

“I need a job,” a recently laid-off woman said, fighting back tears. “I feel useless because I don’t have anything to do. So please bring jobs back to America. We need it.”

“I look at the TV and I see senators talking about how hard it is out here for people like me,” a man who has been looking for solid work for over a year now said. “I know it’s hard out here. I live it every single day. You know, going to sleep at night thinking about how I am going to provide for my daughter.”