Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day is celebrated as a day of service in the United States in honor of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. But for Kimberly-Clark’s vice president of global manufacturing, Hakim Richard Savoy, MLK Day is more than a day to do good deeds and kind acts. It’s a day to truly commit to championing human rights around the world.
Hakim was introduced to civil rights activism at a young age during his childhood in Philadelphia. His dad worked at a shipping yard but spent his free time as an activist in the Black community. While growing up during the 1970’s and 1980’s, Hakim watched his dad bring people together – from the churches to the streets – to fight injustice, educate youth and serve the underserved with food, clothing, and books.
“Some of the earliest memories I have with my father are going out into the community to advocate for voter registration, hosting food drives, and establishing rites of passage programs for young men,” said Hakim.
Hakim’s childhood taught him a powerful lesson – life is more significant than meeting one’s individual needs. His parents instilled in him that life is about the collective work and responsibility we all have to ensure that everyone in the community has their basic needs met for the opportunity for a better life.
Hakim practices the same servant leadership in his community that his dad showed him. MLK Day is just one of the days throughout the year where he steps away from his day-to-day routine and spends time uplifting others in his community.
“I’ve been honoring MLK Day for as long as I can remember,” Hakim said. “I’ve always viewed it as an obligation to do the same work centered on human rights, in service to those who engaged in the civil rights struggle.”

For past MLK days, Hakim has focused on racial equality and equity, poverty, hunger, social justice, and education. This year, he plans to follow in his father’s footsteps by speaking to a small group of teenage boys in hopes of mentoring and connecting them to voting resources. Before he begins the day, he always pauses for a moment of remembrance and personal reflection.

“I remember the sacrifice it took for me to be here today and have the opportunities I do,” said Hakim. “I think about the physical price my Black ancestors paid – from slavery to emancipation to the Jim Crow era to marching in the Civil Rights Movement – I’m a beneficiary of that.”

While we can’t pay back those who sacrificed their lives to create a better life for us today, Hakim believes we can pay it forward for future generations. He challenges himself and others with this question: ‘When you see injustice and human rights trampled on, what are you doing in your sphere of influence to stop it?’

Hakim’s favorite Dr. King quote aligns with his personal purpose of striving for equity and justice in the world, as well as Kimberly-Clark’s purpose of Better Care for a Better World.
“I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“There are millions of people in the world struggling to live a decent quality of life, and they’re not really living the full human existence,” Hakim said. “We have to collectively say, that’s unacceptable, we won’t tolerate it, and bring it to an end.

Hakim joined Kimberly-Clark in 2015, where he led supply chain and logistics for the company’s global nonwovens business. In Hakim’s current role as vice president of global manufacturing, he is responsible for digital manufacturing transformation, external contract manufacturing, capital planning, and value engineering.