Silicon Valley Reads is an annual community program that selects books focused on a contemporary theme and offers free events throughout Santa Clara County to engage the public in reading, thinking and discussing the topic. Our goals are to encourage the love of reading and learning and to have a welcoming forum where our diverse community can come together to share different perspectives.
In 2017, our 15th anniversary, Silicon Valley Reads focuses on “. . . and justice for all,” a conversation about the unconscious biases we all have, and how these assumptions, perceptions and prejudices can lead to people being treated unfairly, especially in the legal system. Everyone has, at one time or another, been unfairly judged because of some type of bias and our goal is to raise awareness and spark new ideas on how we can reduce bias in our legal system and our daily lives.
Unfair by Adam Benforado
A message to Silicon Valley from Adam Benforado
“I am extremely excited to be part of Silicon Valley Reads 2017! I wrote
Unfair because I wanted everyone—from high schoolers to CEOs to pediatricians to plumbers to stay-at-home dads—to understand the hidden forces that lead to criminal injustice. The failure of our legal system has been a defining issue in the United States over the last year. TV shows like “Making a Murderer,” “Bull,” “The People v. O.J. Simpson,” “Amanda Knox,” “The Night Of” and “Conviction” have riveted the public, while instances of police brutality and resulting protests have dominated news headlines. To make progress in our fight against abuse, unequal treatment and wrongful convictions, we must come together as a community to consider the psychological biases that shape the behavior of judges, jurors, witnesses, lawyers, police officers -- and all of the rest of us. Silicon Valley is the perfect place to have this conversation because of its history of civic engagement, its diversity and its commitment to technological innovation. One of my goals was to challenge people to imagine an entirely different landscape of justice, with virtual trials designed to ensure uniformity and prisons reoriented toward rehabilitation, and I can think of no better place to discuss the steps we can take to create a legal system that lives up to our ideals. I look forward to meeting you and starting this discussion.”
- Adam Benforado
Writing My Wrongs by Shaka Senghor
A message to Silicon Valley from Shaka Senghor
“Thank you Silicon Valley Reads! I am excited to be a part of your 15th anniversary celebration, and especially grateful for the opportunity to share my story with the Silicon Valley community. When I went to prison at the age of 19, I was angry and bitter. But books saved me—they freed my mind and allowed me to dream beyond the bars that held me captive. I devoured everything I read, clinging to words—my own and others—as I pulled himself out of the anger that led me to prison and kept me from reaching my full potential. I started writing Writing My Wrongs while still in prison, and I hoped that by sharing my story, I could save a young man or woman who may be headed down the same path that led me to prison. I was once inspired by the many innovators in Silicon Valley, and even behind prison walls, I realized that I had the power to create my reality, and so do you. I hope my story inspires you to challenge injustice wherever you find it, and I look forward to adding to the current conversations happening across the country around justice and equal access for all."
- Shaka Senghor