The past year has been one of extreme stress for the American people. We are suffering through an unprecedented pandemic that has caused countless deaths, pain, and disruption. We have faced a long overdue reckoning on racial justice, equity and equality, and experienced upending political strife.
As Martin Luther King Jr. Day approaches, you will likely hear portions of Dr. King’s famed “I have a dream” speech, but there is more than a dream behind the words he nobly delivered from the footsteps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.
Dr. King reminded us then that “when the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men … would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” And as he called for action to achieve racial and social justice and equity for all, he also said this:
“We must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.”
Dr. King’s words have never rung truer. Last week we witnessed an unfathomable violent insurgency on the heart of our government, the U.S. Capitol. The Illinois CPA Society strongly condemns the violent assault on our democracy. The appalling insurgency of an angry, violent mob—which led to the killing of a police officer, unfortunate and unnecessary deaths, injuries, and destruction—is not the way we move forward from a year that bore some of our nation’s darkest days in modern history. In the spirit of Dr. King, the Illinois CPA Society never condones violence by any person or group, anytime or anywhere. Violence is not how we move forward as a nation.
As an organization that represents more than 23,300 members from many races, cultures, creeds, identities, and ethnicities, we are more than just a vehicle for continuing professional education or advocacy against regulatory overreach. We, as a body of protectors of the public’s interest, have a critical role to play in our society. We believe that political and ideological differences, and diversity of people and thought, are strengths to be peacefully leveraged in our continual pursuit of progress.
In these trying times, your Illinois CPA Society is as committed as ever to doing its part to support democracy and to ensure that peace, unity, and equity prevail for all.
We are stronger together, and only together can we move forward.
Todd M. Shapiro - President and CEO, Illinois CPA Society
Dorri C. McWhorter - Chair, Illinois CPA Society Board of Directors and CEO, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago