Earlier this week, on Tuesday evening, Dominican Sister of Hope Monica McGloin, OP headed out to a local church to pray for a convicted murderer. Robert Van Hook was sentenced to death on August 8, 1985, and his execution date was set for July 18, 2017.

“It’s not a question of whether he did the crime or the severity of it,” Sister Monica says. “You don’t kill people to prove that killing people is wrong,” she says.

On Wednesday at 10:44 am, Robert Van Hook was pronounced dead.

Such are the injustices that the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center in Cincinnati, OH works to end. Through various programming, IJCP also provides education about human trafficking, advocates for immigrants’ rights, and works toward peace and nonviolence.

“People come to our sessions because they’re concerned, and they’re very sincere. But they want comfort. That’s not what this is about.”

Sister Monica is especially involved in a program called Rethinking Racism, which meets six times per year for discussion, study, and conversation. Since its start in January 2016, there have been a total of 622 unique attendees who strive to identify gentrification, promote the culture and autonomy of traditionally black communities, and grapple with racism on a systemic level.

“Racism is the work of white people,” Sister Monica says. “People come to our sessions because they’re concerned, and they’re very sincere. But they want black people to comfort them. That’s not what this is about.”

Instead, this is about recognizing racism in participants’ own neighborhoods, in their own lives.

This post is part of our Hope Is series to commemorate Hope’s 23rd birthday. Follow along and see all of the posts here.