A letter from our executive director re: George Floyd’s death

Hello GoCorps Community,

I am a native of Minneapolis, and my family and I live just 8 blocks from where
George Floyd was killed while in police custody one week ago. For the last seven
days, my family and I have been in the center of peaceful protests and neighborhood
conversations, as well as in the center of where much of the looting and burning of
businesses has occurred. Like our whole country, we are saddened and in mourning
for George Floyd, his family and loved ones, and for all of those who feel a direct
connection to the injustice of his death. I wanted to reach out personally to all of
you connected to GoCorps regarding some of our thoughts and responses.

God’s act of creation and Jesus’ teaching show us that racism is sin and unjust.
Scripture declares and affirms the value and worth of all humanity as his image
bearers. We see this from creation (Genesis 1:26-28) to the culmination of our
history (Revelation 7:9) and Christ established his church to reconcile diverse
people to himself and one another (Ephesians 2:14-16).
[Note: For a more comprehensive summary of GoCorps’ view on racism, anti-semitism
and white supremecy, GoCorps affirms this statement that was created and signed by
several Christian campus fellowship groups in 2017]

George Floyd was an image bearer of Christ. We mourn his death and our
prayers go out to his loved ones.
Black lives matter. Racism, both personal and
structural, are real and pervasive problems in our society, and they are antithetical
to our global God. It’s going to take action and hard work to bring change. It’s going
to take humility and healing. We need Christ to do what only he can do. But we also
need all of us, where we are, to do what we can do.

What We Can Do: An invitation for you to be a goer for racial justice!

GoCorps is about sending Goers to cross borders to fight injustice and share the
hope that we’ve found in Christ. While GoCorps focuses on helping people cross
international borders so that young adults can live in cross-cultural environments,
you don’t need to cross an ocean to be a goer. America needs Christians who will be
‘goers’ in our own hearts and in our own communities. We can do this today,
starting right now.

Goers go to hard places and depend on Christ to bring truth and transformation
where there are lies, injustice and oppression. All of us need to do this on a personal
level in our own hearts. We need to go to the hard places, the places we overlook or
ignore or gloss over in our heart, thoughts and perceptions, and ask God to reveal to
us the racism and injustice that we all have inside of us and repent. We are broken
and sinful, and we can’t ignore the sin of racism inside of us anymore.

And as Christians, we must be goers who are willing to get into the uncomfortable
and awkward conversations and situations that happen when we cross racial,
economic and cultural barriers to build bridges and seek healing and reconciliation.
We need to be willing to do whatever it takes to find and go to people and places in
our own neighborhoods and humbly and authentically, bring Christ’s love, accept
his pruning, proclaim Jesus’ rejection of racism and seek his healing.

GoCorps response to the current crisis in the wake of George Floyd’s unjust
death

First, we are committing ourselves to pray for racial justice in our own country, our
cities and our churches.

Second, we are committing ourselves to stand together and demonstrate solidarity
with communities of color among college students and young adults.

Third, our full-time staff team (who is currently all white) is going to take a
‘Whiteness 101’ class together toward the goal of becoming more self aware of our
blind spots, our need for repentance and our role in being advocates and
instruments for justice.

Thank you especially for your prayers for my city of Minneapolis in these last days.

Goers for Justice,

Paul Van Der Werf
Founder and Executive Director