Celebrating resilience through Black History Month
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION |
The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. An ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. That is the definition of resilience. Admittedly, I wasn’t sure what the theme for Black History Month should be given all that has transpired in the past eight or nine months. A month to embrace and celebrate our Black culture is clouded by the racial injustice, voter suppression and economic inequality we are experiencing. So, what is there to celebrate? One thing I think we can wrap our arms around is the resilience of our culture.
It wasn’t that long ago Black people couldn’t vote. Yet during the last three months, Black people and allies voted in record numbers to make history—not once, but twice. First we elected the first Black woman as vice president of our country. Then we elected the first Black and Jewish senators for the state of Georgia. We may have felt knocked down by the untimely deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Jacob Blake and so many others. We may have felt knocked down as the Coronavirus killed disproportionally more Black people than any other race. But we got back up, kept moving forward and made positive changes happen.
If you look at our history, there have been many upper cuts, jabs and left hooks thrown our way. However, we have never been knocked out. That speaks volumes to our ability to change course, get back up after a defeat and turn to love instead of hate even in the face of unbearable oppression. So, for this Black History Month, I want you to reflect on the tenacity and strength of our ancestors and know that you embody the similar qualities to continue to make change. For our allies, in the corner of the ring with us, your support and strength have never wavered. As we continue to strive to live in a world where all are created and treated equal, we need you in our corner as part of our dedicated team to create a more equitable future for generations to come.
With this week kicking off Black History Month, as the national leader of our African American and Canadian Excellence (AACE) employee network group (ENG), it’s my honor to share with you all we accomplished through our firm’s Season of Service, which honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of service.
To date, our people have made and delivered meals to the homeless, stuffed backpacks with school supplies to help underprivileged students and adopted families for the holidays. Several Season of Service projects qualified for matching funds through the RSM US Foundation’s Dollars for Doers program. Through these qualifying service projects, 447 volunteers provided 1,308 service hours and generated $16,900 in grants to help support four charitable organizations whose missions align with those of the foundation. Additionally, we had 217 individuals donate to our Racial Understanding Campaign, raising an additional $28,300, and bringing the grand total raised during this year’s Season of Service to $45,200.
I am inspired by the participation of our people and amount we were able to raise during the last few months. I encourage you to join us in taking time to reflect on our nation’s past, the progress we’ve made to date and our collective opportunity to create a more promising future for all by taking action to build a better tomorrow.
Principal and National AACE ENG leader
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
AACE nurtures an environment that supports RSM’s African American and Black professionals in their pursuit of professional excellence.