Empowering Communities

Living through the memoirs of Black history

February 13, 2023

Black History Month is an annual celebration in the United States that recognizes the history, culture, and contributions of Black Americans every February. This month is a reminder of the opportunities we have to reunite with the past, make way for a brighter future, and celebrate all the amazing figures who have taken their place in the memoirs of Black history.

The Roots of Black History Month

African American history grew out of “Negro History Week” that was established in 1926 by a Harvard-historian Carter Woodson, who is also known as the “Father of Black History.” During his career, Woodson believed that African American contributions were being ignored by writers in history books and teachers who used them.

When former president Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, it guaranteed Woodson’s hard work and dedication would live on every February when schools and the nation reflect on Black history.

As we contemplate the powerful actions of those in our past to elevate Black history, it’s also important to recognize the people today who continue to do work to creating an equitable society — including those within the ComEd community.

Shantinel Laws, principal work plan coordinator at ComEd and president of the Exelon African American Resource Alliance (EAARA), believes that ComEd plays a vital role in promoting racial justice and equitable access and opportunity to all communities.

“We give back to the communities we serve through volunteering and educating our neighborhoods about programs such as Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). We host a variety of community events so that our customers know that there is assistance available if they can’t afford to pay their bills,” stated Shantinel. EAARA is a dedicated team. For the past 32 years, EAARA has given scholarships to graduating high school students, but now they are broadening scholarships to individuals that are attending trade schools and adults that are re-entering society in addition to high school seniors. This year, they are looking to raise $52,000!  EAARA’s mission is to invite, develop, and retain diverse staff to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) initiatives, increase volunteerism, and increase community outreach to enhance community engagement.

“We still have great strides to go as it relates to equity and society, because we see that certain things are still transpiring in the black communities. However, I think we’re making considerable progress towards equality for all.”


ComEd’s 2030 Vision

ComEd has made efforts that are centered on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and continues to consider the needs of all customers served across northern Illinois as we work toward our ComEd 2030 vision. ComEd 2030 reflects a purpose about carbon-free energy future that benefits all our communities and set priorities for how ComEd will meet customers changing needs for the rest of the future.

“Our commitment is to make sure the benefits of the digital and decarbonized energy future flow equitably to communities with the greatest need. ComEd is one of the very few entities in the region that serves everyone. Because we are a company that operates in the public trust, we have a very special focus on community well-being, justice, and opportunity for all,” said ComEd CEO Gil Quiniones.

ComEd 2030 focuses on the more than 9 million people who call the company’s northern Illinois service territory home and supports the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), which was signed into law in 2021 and focuses on ensuring that under-resourced communities are prioritized in the region’s clean energy transition.

This month reminds us that embracing different voices and insights make our ideas better, ComEd stronger, and it allows us to better serve our customers and communities equitably.

Here at ComEd we encourage you to join our 6,200 employees in taking action to embrace diversity in all its forms.