Public Media Arts Hub

An electrical line worker’s Brief But Spectacular take on empowering her community

Transcript

Judy Woodruff: Throughout this pandemic, we have profiled many front-line workers whose jobs have been deemed essential.

Tonight's Brief But Spectacular introduces us to Savoya Taylor. She works as a line worker for ComEd, which powers Chicago and much of Northern Illinois. Taylor is the company's first female overhead electrician, and she spoke to us about her work and her family.

Savoya Taylor: Just imagine this pandemic without electricity. Everybody was running out to the grocery stores. With no electricity, you have nowhere to store that grocery, no television, no cell phones.

We are definitely called first responders in our position. So we're basically the first ones out there. I work on the North Side of Chicago, also part of the West Side. This was definitely not the career I was growing up on, saying, oh, I'm going to be an electrician.

I'm the only lady. The guys treat me well. They treat me as if I'm one of their own. So, it's an amazing position to be in.

Actually, my whole household, we're all essential workers. I have a daughter. She works for the company as well. She works for customer service. I have another daughter. She works at a restaurant. I also have a son at home. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in November, my 12-year-old son.

There's days my son wants to just be right up under me. And I'm like, give me a second. Let me get out of these clothes, shower. And it's just hard when you got a young child at home that wants to love and hug all over his mother and his sisters and stuff, and we're just trying to keep a good distance just to keep him safe.

To be out here working every day, and not knowing if I'm going to contract this illness or not, I definitely have to try to not bring it home to him. And it's days where his strength isn't up, and he had to do the chemo and everything.

So, these type of diagnosis is hard on adults, so just imagine a 12-year-old boy that don't even understand, like, why me? He asked me that. Why me? And I didn't even have an answer. I just told him that things happen to people sometimes, but just continue to be strong and we will get through it.

He inspired me so much. He has shown me that you just can't give up.

I worked really hard to be here. And I'm opening up, trying to be positive for a lot more ladies to come behind me. And I'm also trying to train my youngest daughter to do what I'm doing and, teaching her how to climb. She wants to follow into my footsteps. So that really makes me proud.

My name is Savoya Taylor. This is my Brief But Spectacular take on empowering my family and my community.

Judy Woodruff: You go, Savoya Taylor. And we're thinking about you, your son, and your whole family.

And you can find all of our Brief But Spectacular segments online at PBS.org/NewsHour/Brief.



Support Canvas

Sustain our coverage of culture, arts and literature.

Send Us Your Ideas
+
Let us know what you'd like to see on ArtsCanvas. Your thoughts and opinions matter.