By Denisa Raducan ‘18 (Biliesti, Romania / Greenwood, IN) 

The past two years have been far from easy. The pandemic has affected not only our routines, but also the normality of our lives. We have experienced both ups and downs. Gratitude and thankfulness have become more important in the past two years. Even more so, the pandemic made many realize that we should indeed be thankful for what we have, because we never know what awaits us tomorrow. 

In 2021, November 25 marked not only Thanksgiving Day—a beloved holiday in American culture when people express their gratitude towards each other and the things for which they are thankful—but also the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Undoubtedly, domestic violence is a sensitive topic to approach and talk about, and it is also a serious issue that our society is confronting to this day.  

Alumni in Romania decided to combine these two significant events by raising awareness regarding domestic violence and sharing the meaning and importance of solidarity. While I was in the U.S., I volunteered at shelters for survivors of domestic violence, so I contacted my local coordinator and shared this idea. She helped me get in touch with Beacon of Hope, a shelter in Indiana that provides the necessary emotional and material help for victims of domestic violence 

In collaboration with Beacon of Hope, we put together an event dedicated to the survivors of domestic abuse. Distance is never an obstacle, especially when it comes to solidarity and kindness. That is why 13 of my fellow alumni and I wrote and sent encouraging messages to the survivors at Beacon of Hope. The messages were handwritten and sprinkled with the individuality of each alum, showing appreciation for each recipients’ courage and resilience. 

Finally, I compiled the messages into a presentation, accompanied by pictures of the alumni holding what they had written. I shared the presentation with contacts at Beacon of Hope, who then distributed the presentation to all the survivors with whom they work.  

Solidarity is not measured by distance, and human kindness does not have limits. Caring about those around us and trying our best to help and improve the world we live in is not only our responsibility as humans, but also as alumni that carry the knowledge of cultural exchange and the importance of civic participation.