Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Wonderful article on the Tenderloin District in SF, the tech companies that have moved in, and Glide Church

So far in this blog I think I've only featured my own writing, but this time I am point you toward an article from Wired Magazine, which in the past few years has re-found its journalistic voice that made it so wonderful in the 90s.

This article is about the Tenderloin district in SF, and Rev. Williams of Glide Church that has been serving the homeless and poor and addicts for 50+ years, and the tech industry (Google, Zendesk, Twitter, etc.) that has moved into the neighborhood. It's a complex issue there, and the writer of this article embraces the complexity without seeking simple solutions or soundbite interpretations of what's happening.

It has moved me because a) it's just plain well-written. Exciting to see a piece of journalism that shows curiosity and openness and a willingness to take the time to make something special. And b) it's an issue that touches my heart: I'm a fan of tech and what the tech industry has brought to humanity, while also understanding that it has had some costs; and I'm concerned about gentrification and pushing poor people out of neighborhoods even while acknowledging that we can't let areas turn into blight and unsafe spaces, either - there's a tension around that which we are seeing here in Eau Claire, as well, as our downtown revitalizes and becomes a destination for business, tourism, and locals; and of course, the theological component that comes up in this article of the ministry of Glide Church and its pastor and volunteers and their commitment to meet the needs of people without judgment and a radical inclusive generosity.

This is good writing and good reporting - looking at a situation from many angles, just as the people involved in it are looking from many angles. This is longer than most articles, but oh so worth the read.

"For Williams, though, embracing tech isn’t just about money. “I’ve discovered a brokenness in the tech community. It has to do with self-definition. They’re not always good at creating humanity,” he tells me. The companies aren’t just benefactors, in other words; in a sense they’re also clients. 
If you belong to the tech world and feel an objection welling up, know that brokenness is not a crime in Williams’ book. On the contrary, it’s the channel on which we all relate. ... [Williams' wife Mirikatani said...] “I believe we’re more connected by our wounds than our comfort zones,” she says. “If a CEO is wounded by something, a connection to that would be stronger than money.” Put another way, the tech world’s C-suites could need salvation more than stock options.

Read the article