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What does Martin Luther King Day mean to you?


As RSM’s national leader of our African American Community of Excellence (AACE) employee network group (ENG), it probably doesn’t surprise you that I have strong feelings about Martin Luther King Day. I’ll share those with you at the end of this message. But before doing that, I’d like to share with you a few responses from a small sampling of our nearly 10,000 people from our 86 offices nationwide.

Here’s what they had to say when I asked, “What does Martin Luther King Day mean to you?”

“Dr. Martin Luther King’s message of non-violence rings as true today as it did a generation ago. At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of understanding. When you understand others’ points of view and perspectives, it’s easier to accept our differences, find common ground and work together to make the world a better place.” – Joe Adams, managing partner and CEO; Chicago, IL


“The significance of celebrating Martin Luther King Day, and honoring his legacy is that it reminds me to take the opportunity to show kindness. You never know the issues others are facing and how a small act of kindness might enhance someone’s day.” – Robert Peterkin, manager; Charlotte, NC



“The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King is the driver for a continuing commitment to ensuring that all people are welcome. Regardless of our differences – whatever they might be – we are all part of the human race. We all deserve unconditional acceptance and respect.” – Chappell Wilson, director; Mclean, VA


“Dr. Martin Luther King Day is a reminder for us all to stand up for what you believe in, while also respecting those who might disagree with your viewpoint. We might not always come to the table with the same perspective, but we can always be respectful of one another.” – Laura Dietzel, senior manager and real estate senior analyst, Chicago, IL


I’m proud of RSM’s focus on inclusion, and proud of the way my colleagues articulate what Martin Luther King Day means to them. Now, as promised, here’s what it means to me:

To me, Martin Luther King Day embodies the core characteristics of a servant-minded leader – one who conducts countless acts behind-the-scenes in support of their greater community, not because they want the spotlight on themselves but because it challenges and fosters the development of others. – Charles Barley Jr, Principal and National AACE leader; Washington DC.

What does Martin Luther King Day mean to you?