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Tech With Justice

To the Editor,

Congratulations on the balanced and thoughtful article on Tech Valley in last week’s issue [“Tech Valley: Boom, Bust, or Buzz?,” Oct. 23]. I’m encouraged that we’re thinking proactively about issues like sustainable development and sprawl amidst our high-tech hopes for the region.

What I missed, though, was mention of the mounting empirical evidence that points to increased gender and racial inequality in high-technology regions (especially high-technology manufacturing areas). This is true in the regions we commonly think of as “high-tech,” like Austin and Silicon Valley, but also in Miami, St. Louis, Dallas and Detroit.

The time is well past due to commit to a high-tech equity agenda for the Capital Region. Workforce development, technological education and training must be part of this effort, yes. But we must also renew our commitment to basic elements of social justice: affordable housing, health care, and child care; improved public transportation and education; environmental and economic sustainability; accessible and participatory political process. All members of our communities must be able to reap the rewards (and displace the negative effects) of whatever economic development is coming our way.

There are a number of local organizations already engaged in this important work. I was glad to see Citizens for Responsible Growth mentioned, but I’d also point interested citizens to ARISE (A Regional Initiative Supporting Empowerment) a faith-based organization concerned with youth and education, employment and regional growth issues, and the YWCA of Troy-Cohoes, whose commitment to empowering women and girls and eliminating racism has recently taken the form of participatory technology and social justice programs.

Finally, there is a role for local universities in supporting the high-tech equity agenda through community-focused collaborative research (not just incubating new companies and fostering technical innovation). Critical technological literacy is increasingly a key element of engaged citizenship—for students and community members alike—and universities should seek to develop educational activities and resources for the public in partnership with the communities they call home.

Virginia Eubanks
Troy

Correction

In a story two weeks ago [“They Got Him Off the Streets,” Oct. 16], Albany Police Cmdr. Christian D’Alessandro was mistakenly said to have participated in a centennial celebration for V.J. Franze and Sons Market in Arbor Hill. D’Alessandro helped organize the event, but was not present the day of the celebration.

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters (computer printouts OK), addressed to the editor. Or you may e-mail them to: metroland@metroland.net. Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

Send to:
Letters, Metroland, 4 Central Ave.,
4th Floor, Albany, NY 12210
or e-mail us at metroland@metroland.net.


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