Many mothers and fathers of black men and women in this country fear for the safety of their sons and daughters every day in America.

When every black mother heard that Mr. George Floyd called out for his mother in his dying breath, their hearts broke for him and I am pretty sure that they all called their children or gathered their children around them and cried because in that moment they were all saying that “Coulda been my child!”

By making these remarks, I am not downplaying any other racial group of parents, but the black parenting experience is different from that of other racial groups.

When my adult black son, who is a college graduate and a bank employee, goes out, the first thing that is noticed about him is that he is BLACK! It is not assumed that he has no criminal record. It is not assumed that he was on the college debate team. What IS assumed is that he may be there to do you harm and THAT IS HEARTBREAKING IN ITSELF.

When my adult black daughter goes out it is not assumed that she is an insurance professional, rather to many it is assumed that she is on public assistance to take of children that she has by multiple partners, even though she is single and has no children.

Why are the negative assumptions put forth first? Because of racial injustice and inequality; being indifferent to the plight and circumstances of others that do not look like you.

But what can we do as Christians? I think each one of us can do our part by learning, growing and living at peace with our fellow brothers and sisters no matter their color, race, religion or national origin. We must go out and peaceably protest that violence and injustice against people of color is unacceptable and contrary to the will of God!

Micah 6:8 says, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

What was God telling Israel? He was telling them that He did not need or desire their religious rites, sacrifices or oblations. Instead, the Lord sought Israel’s justice, mercy and humility. What He wanted from them was a change of heart. Without the heart, Israel’s conformity to the Law was nothing more than hypocrisy.

God expected His people to show love to their fellow man and to be loyal in their love toward Him, just as He had been loyal to them (Micah 2:8-9; 3:10-11; 6:12). We as Americans and Christians should recognize that no amount of personal sacrifice can replace a heart committed to justice and love.

So, until we see as a nation that racial injustice exists, God’s people today will continue to desire justice, mercy and humility before the Lord!

— The Rev. Tonya Boyce is the executive director of Eternal Grace Ministries of Pine Bluff.