Descendant of Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington Joins the Celebration
Southern California Edison (SCE), an Edison International (NYSE: EIX) subsidiary, hosted its 9th Annual Black History Month celebration at its Customer Technology Application Center (CTAC) in Irwindale.
This year’s event , “Connecting the Evolution of Electricity to Black History,” featured special guest speaker Kenneth B. Morris, the great-great-great-grandson of slave turned orator, wri ter and statesman Frederick Douglass, and great-great-grandson of educator and political leader Booker T. Washington.
Echoing this year’s theme, Embrace The Past, Inspire The Future, Morris shared with guests how his family history inspired him to make a difference.
Morris, president of the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation, was joined by keynote speaker James M. Rosser, president of California State University, Los Angeles. Dr. Rosser, an advocate of higher education, highlighted how life experiences, maturity and social upbringing are the defining factors of a true education.
As part of the celebration, SCE recognized African-American inventors, community leaders and businesses that have made contributions and influenced history.
Denise Peoples of Choice Workforce Solutions and Alicia Jacobs of Ajament Partners were honored for their long-standing partnerships, and for providing quality products and services to SCE. The Black Voice Foundation, National College Resources Foundation and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People were acknowledged for their dedication and commitment to uplifting communities across SCE’s vast service territory.
“Being able to recognize not only African- American inventors, but businesses and organizations that are making a difference in the community, is the essence of our Black History Month celebration,” said Lisa Cagnolatti, SCE’s vice president , Customer Service Business Unit’s Business Customer Division. “The company looks forward to this event each year because it allows us to connect with our customers and community partners in a very positive and celebratory way.”
The event featured Keith E. Gipson, co-inventor of an Internet-based system that performs facility and energy management for large corporations; Joseph Jackson, who developed a device that allows parents to better regulate what their children watch on television; and Clayton Webb, inventor of an automated meter reading system.
They were spotlighted as African- Americans who have made lasting contributions to the electricity industry and technology.
News anchors Chris Schauble of KNBC4 and Michaela Pereira of KTLA5 co-hosted the celebration, and Samantha Howard-Ibay and the Inner City Youth Orchestra, featuring saxophonist Damon Rentie, provided the entertainment.
Attendees also had an opportunity to tour the center’s “Smart Energy Experience.” The interactive exhibit is designed to introduce tools and technologies to help customers become smarter consumers of electricity.
SCE employees Afarah Board and Dave Ford, who co-founded the Black History Month Celebration, saw it as an opportunity to share ideas, inspire others and make connections with the business community. This year’s theme and speakers were chosen to add historical insight, while helping shift the focus toward future generations’ needs.
For more information on African American inventors, visit www.sce.com/inventors.
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