The streets of many cities are filled with grieving people, outraged that yet another African American became the victim of police brutality. The protests are calling for justice for George Floyd who died because of a police officer who pinned him down with a knee on his neck.
Heated debates around the issues of racism and police misconduct fill social media feeds and kitchen tables, especially after some of the protests escalated into the destruction of property and some of the protesters were met with tasers, tear gas and rubber bullets. The nation seems more divided than ever before. However, in the midst of it all, there are glimpses of hope.
Although national headlines are accompanied by photos of burning buildings, there are also viral videos that show police officers joining the protests and photos of white communities showing their support for the movement as well.
For example, Christian singer Phil Wickham reposted a series of photos of African American protesters hugging or shaking hands with Caucasian police officers.
The heartening stories of increased unity are slowly surfacing. The white community seems to be awakening to the plea of their black brothers and sisters, causing a deepened desire for racial reconciliation and an increased awareness of racism.
One example is a vigil held at the Cuney Homes in the Third Ward in Houston, Texas. This is where Floyd did community outreach and played hoops. It is here that a group of white locals kneel in front of a group of black parishioners and pray for forgiveness.
In a video obtained by Click 2 Houston, we see a group of parishioners praying for forgiveness and unity in what they call a “Praytest.”
“We need to show a symbol that we truly do apologize for what’s been done to our black brothers and sisters,” co-organizer Bobby ‘Trey 9’ Herring told Fox 26.
One man is heard praying, “Father God, we ask for forgiveness from our black brothers and sisters for years and years of systematic racism.” Another Caucasian man adds, “I pray for my white, black and brown brothers and sisters who have had the courage to expose blatant racism in my own heart.”
In another video of the Praytest we see African American attendees crying and responding by kneeling down to pray with them. “You are the God of reconciliation,” prays one of them. “Not only do we receive their repentance, but God, we repent as the black community for holding unforgiveness.”
As the protests continue to call for police reform and the end of systemic racism, stories like these show one of the ways Christians can pray and support the cause.