SANTA CLARA — U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and SAP CEO Bill McDermott challenged the region’s tech and political giants to promote unity and defy injustice Friday at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s annual luncheon.

Just days ahead of the election, Feinstein reminded nearly 1,300 attendees at the Santa Clara Convention Center of the power of their words, particularly during a time when America is deeply divided.

“Words matter,” she said. “What a leader says matter. People derive intention from words. And words either encourage, or discourage or are neutral on certain actions.”

Feinstein said she’d push Congress to pass a public government health insurance policy and a comprehensive immigration bill if she’s re-elected Tuesday. Feinstein is being challenged by fellow Democrat, state Sen. Kevin de León.

United States Senator Dianne Feinstein speaks at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Annual Lunch at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California, on Friday, November 2, 2018. (LiPo Ching/Bay Area News Group)

Meanwhile, SAP CEO Bill McDermott, who received the leadership group’s Silicon Valley Lifetime Achievement Award, said the only way to preserve the spirit of Silicon Valley in a “very divided world” is to “stick together” and practice three key principles: trust, empathy and courage.

“If we cannot commit to these values, not only will we miss the future, in fact we will have fumbled an opportunity to take the economy, the environment and society forward,” he said. “We have to stick together.”

Speakers at the event also included Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.

“To have leaders like you gives us hope that we can once again restore common ground in America by working together,” McDermott said.