SCE Celebrates African American Accomplishments
Areva Martin was only 10 when she began working long nights doing custodial work for luxurious homes and business offices along with her grandmother, Ethel, and godmother, Devan.
She credits these two women for instilling a sense of humility and pride at a young age. Martin, a civil rights attorney, author and CNN legal analyst, spoke fondly of her godmother and recalled a powerful quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
Martin was the keynote speaker at Southern California Edison’s annual Black History Month event celebrating community and business partners with the theme “Black Voices Change Lives.” Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the celebration was held virtually for the first time.
The celebration kicked off with cooking demos from chefs Brisa Marlene Slaton and Kerran Green. Chef Brisa, in partnership with Black Women for Wellness, demonstrated a twist on a classic soul food recipe, vegan mac and cheese. Chef Kerran enjoys sharing his Jamaican culture through delicious, healthy food and shared his garlic butter fish recipe using an energy-efficient electric skillet.
LA County Supervisor Holly Mitchell spoke about the CROWN Act, Senate Bill 188 that she authored, making California the first state to ban natural hair discrimination.
“Black voices change lives because we are rarely speaking about a singular experience,” she said. “When we tell the truth about our reality, we’re often highlighting shared struggles and the nuances of the injustices we face that impact other communities of color.”
I always look forward to this important recognition of our continued partnership with the African American community and I absolutely believe that we simply cannot reach our full potential as a society without contributions from all diverse communities. I’m thankful for the positive impact that African Americans make on our business, our communities, our state and our nation.”Pedro J. Pizarro, Edison International President and CEO
Congresswoman Karen Bass, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus in 2019 and 2020, spoke about the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on the African American population. Bass shares how Black voices can change Black lives by being vocal about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine, which can help the community become open and willing to take the vaccine.
Viewers were also treated to a live performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” — often called the Black national anthem — by the Blue Breeze Band. The powerful song is a reminder of the suffering and obstacles of the many Black men and women who pioneered the way for progress and change.
This year’s celebration honored Coastal Environments for its work as a diverse business enterprise; American Solar Advantage and Brooks Chapel AME for their achievements in energy efficiency; and Bridge Builders Foundation and the Black Business Association were recognized for their community partnership.
“Recipients of the Community Partnership Awards provide noteworthy, longstanding, innovative and significant services to the community,” said SCE President and CEO Kevin Payne.
“I always look forward to this important recognition of our continued partnership with the African American community and I absolutely believe that we simply cannot reach our full potential as a society without contributions from all diverse communities,” said Pedro J. Pizarro, president and CEO of Edison International.
“I’m thankful for the positive impact that African Americans make on our business, our communities, our state and our nation.”
Martin concluded her keynote speech with a call to action.
“Are you ready to fight for a democracy that respects the humanity of black, white, brown and Indigenous people from all walks of life?” she said. “In short, I say to you today, are you ready to rise up?”
Click here to view the recorded event.