Shenandoah Valley LGBTQ Center provides pandemic friendly programming

STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) — The Shenandoah Valley LGBTQ Center provides a safe space for the LGBTQ community in the valley to find information on mental and physical health.



The Shenandoah LGBTQ center stays connected with the community in various ways, despite the pandemic.


© Provided by Harrisonburg WHSV
The Shenandoah LGBTQ center stays connected with the community in various ways, despite the pandemic.

Emily Sproul is the executive director of the organization. Sproul said the center has works with communities in the Valley to educate them on how to be more affirming on the LGBTQ community.

Throughout the pandemic, the center has tried various ways to stay connected, including weekly online check-ins, youth groups and picnics in parks.

“Specifically it is not mental health support, but it does support the mental health of our clients to be able to connect with each other, to have a safe space just to talk and catch up, be social and feel as normal as we can during this time,” Sproul explained.

Sproul said family conflict is aggravated by the stress and isolation of the pandemic.

“We’ve had a lot of people who are calling looking for mental health resources that we have been able to refer to some of our partners like ARROW and Allied Transformations. We refer folks to them and they can do telehealth. We’re also just a place people call to talk things through sometimes,” Sproul said.

Sproul said one thing the organization learned, is to be proactive.

“Depression is incredibly difficult and prevalent during this time and it makes it difficult for people to reach out when they need help. We have to be proactive. We call and text our regular clients to make sure that they are doing okay and to see if they need anything,” Sproul explained.

The Shenandoah Valley LGBTQ Center plans to hold a picnic this Saturday, October 17,

Silicon Valley is famously liberal. Then, investors and employees started clashing over race.

SAN FRANCISCO — The day after President Donald Trump told the Proud Boys, a far-right group with a history of inciting violence, to “stand back and stand by,” during the first presidential debate last month, tech investor Cyan Banister tweeted that the group had “a few bad apples. “

The open defense of an organization that has been deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center is one extreme example of an increasingly public reactionary streak in Silicon Valley that diverges from the tech industry’s image as a bastion of liberalism. Some libertarian, centrist, and right-leaning Silicon Valley investors and executives, who wield outsize influence, power and access to capital, describe tech culture as under siege by activist employees pushing a social justice agenda.

Curtis Yarvin, dubbed a “favorite philosopher of the alt-right” by the Verge, has become a familiar face on the invite-only audio social network Clubhouse, in rooms with investors such as Facebook board member Marc Andreessen, the founder of Andreessen Horowitz, which invested in the app.

Cryptocurrency startup Coinbase recently sought to restrict political speech by employees, a move many interpreted as a return to the company’s more libertarian roots because it came in reaction to internal discussions of Black Lives Matter.

Tensions are running high even at some of the biggest tech companies. The crackdown on employee speech in response to social activism over the past year has spread to Facebook, Google and Pinterest, among others.

In September, Facebook restricted spaces for political discussions after employees protested the company’s moderation policies against hate speech affecting Black users. Pinterest shut down a Slack channel used to submit questions for company meetings and turned another Slack channel read-only, opting to use a different tool for up-voting. Employees, who had used both channels to question leadership about

A leading Silicon Valley exec says Big Tech prioritized lower costs over employees’ wellbeing, and it’s created a feudalist system where workers are left to fend for themselves



a man riding on the back of a truck: Sean Gallup/Getty Images


© Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

  • Maëlle Gavet is a leading Silicon Valley executive, entrepreneur, investor, and most recently, the chief operating officer at real estate platform Compass.
  • The following is an excerpt from her first book, “Trampled by Unicorns: Big Tech’s Empathy Problem and How to Fix It.”
  • In it, she examines how Big Tech’s failure to empathize with customers and workers has led to “digital era’s equivalent of feudalism.”
  • In her in-depth critique of the world’s largest tech corporations — including Amazon, Uber, and Google — she crafts an earnest call to action for industry leaders, board members, employees, and consumers to get tech back on track. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Right now the jury is still out on whether the tech economy is ultimately a job creator or a job destroyer. As with many of the points in this book, that topic is complex, nuanced, and polarizing.

As of today, while tech has upended some businesses, it has helped drive expansion in so many industries that the net effect is likely more jobs, even if there is disagreement over how to quantify it. Whether that will be true as automation driven by artificial intelligence expands throughout the economy is another matter. Either way, it is critical that we look deeper than simple employment numbers.



polygon: "Trampled by Unicorns: Big Tech's Empathy Problem and How to Fix It," by Maëlle Gavet. Courtesy of Wiley.


© Courtesy of Wiley.
“Trampled by Unicorns: Big Tech’s Empathy Problem and How to Fix It,” by Maëlle Gavet. Courtesy of Wiley.

Tech defenders argue that the information revolution is no different from others in history. One can certainly draw parallels to the industrial revolution, for example: Powered by relentless innovation, it, too, created new jobs while killing others.

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What is different is the degree to which tech companies, and unicorns in particular, have changed the nature