IBMers serving others: Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

By | 1 minute read | January 23, 2020

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others?”

It is one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s most well known quotes and a guiding light for the volunteer activities that many in the United States take part in for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Earlier this week for MLK Day, IBMers honored the legacy of Martin Luther King by serving together in the first of IBM’s two annual Days of Service. In Georgia, IBMers packed lunches and made blankets to distribute to local schools and those in need. In North Carolina, more than 350 volunteers packaged over 20,000 meals to feed local senior citizens. In Minnesota, IBM and Red Hat employees wrote letters to educators, and the list goes on and on.

As I watched countless photos like these come in from around the country I was struck by the clear passion, selflessness, and pure kindness I saw – my inspiration tank was full. It also got me thinking, what if each and every day we showed up for others the way we do on the third Monday in January? What if we all made serving those who are most different from ourselves a part of our routine, simply because it is the right thing to do?

Dr. King spent his life advocating for fairness and equality; he was the founding father of the principles of inclusion that we champion every day at IBM today and his work around serving others acts as the basis for so much of what guides IBM’s commitment to societal impact. He was the leader of the American Civil Rights Movement but his words of kindness, love and equality remain relevant in all corners of the world today.

With MLK’s legacy mind – and coming off of a day that showcased just what kind of impact can be made when we serve others – I urge IBMers, and others, to remain on this path of service. To continue on a journey of allyship, using your unique privilege to develop empathy towards others who are different than yourselves.

Martin Luther King Jr. said it best, “we can all be great because we can all serve,” let’s remember that as we come together to strive for equity and equality for all.