by Rev. Dr. David Vásquez–Levy, President, Pacific School of Religion
What would a Silicon Valley brand of community organizing look like?
That was one of the central questions at the Interfaith Roundtable in Silicon Valley that we hosted at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The thinking from a select group of religious, business, philanthropy, and social change leaders identified two particular markers: (1) the possibilities that would arise from drawing on the innovation, collaboration, and creativity that are a hallmark of Silicon Valley to engage complex social issues; (2) The need to recognize and become better engage the growing power and influence of tech companies that mirrors—and sometimes rivals—the traditional power structures of government and civic society.
Energy came into the conversation as we imagined both the potential of a relational engagement with the best aspirations of tech industry leaders, as well as the need for social change leaders to more effectively highlight the ways that the new economy being developed in Silicon Valley duplicates and sometimes exacerbates historical inequalities.
With a 150 year history of preparing spiritually rooted leaders, we at Pacific School of Religion are excited to broaden our partnership to develop the next generation of leaders who can frame the issues of our day and their own passions in a broad, imaginative, and compelling narrative, while sustaining their work by drawing on the animating power of faith. The Roundtable highlighted the potential and need for creating a Silicon Valley brand of community organizing.