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.
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.
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