Crosscurrents | KALW


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Crosscurrents is KALW Public Radio's award-winning news magazine, broadcasting Mondays through Thursdays on 91.7 FM. We make joyful, informative stories that engage people across the economic, social, and cultural divides in our community.

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Nancy Sidebotham is a tax preparer and long-time Oakland resident whose been involved with the community for decades. She ran for city council numerous times. This is her second go at running for mayor.

Angela Johnston

It’s been just over a year since a number of fires devastated areas of Sonoma, Napa, and other northern counties. The Tubbs fire, which began in Calistoga, flattened over 4,000 homes and killed 22 people, making it the most destructive wildfire in California history. Now, homeowners are rebuilding, wineries are re-opening, and communities are picking up the pieces. KALW’s Ninna Gaensler-Debs and Angela Johnston reported on the fires a year ago. They join us for an update.

Bart Heird, used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / cropped

From San Quentin Radio:

In prisons across the United States, incarcerated people often separate themselves by race or ethnicity. Blacks hang with blacks, whites with whites, and so forth. But at San Quentin, people of all races participate in playing in a role-playing game called Dungeons and Dragons. They defy prison politics to share in a fun activity and also escape from the stress of the prison system.

Wordplay with Maddy “MADlines” Clifford

Oct 10, 2018
Lea Salanon

Rapper, writer and educator Maddy "MADlines" Clifford got introduced to slam poetry as a teenager and has spent the last decade teaching hip hop lyricism, history, and performance in schools, museums, college campuses, and even as far away as Uganda.

Courtesy of Pamela Price

This spring, civil rights attorney Pamela Price lost the race for Alameda County District Attorney. Her name is on the ballot again, this time for mayor of Oakland.

Bay Area Beats: Del the Funky Homosapien

Oct 10, 2018
Bo Walsh

In 1991 Rapper Del the Funky Homosapien became the first member of Oakland’s Hieroglyphics hip-hop collective be introduced to the world with his debut album “I Wish My Brother George Was Here.” For Del, music has always been a family affair.

Courtesey of the Marchon Tatmon campaign

Marchon Tatmon was 16 when he took a class trip to our nation’s capital and down south to where Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. That experience inspired him to be a public servant. Now, he works for a nonprofit called Building Futures that houses homeless families.

Ryan Katz

In a special presentation from KALW News, it’s a story from the new podcast 70 Million, an open-source podcast looking at jail and criminal justice reform in communities across the country.

Black, Jewish, and incarcerated

Oct 4, 2018
Steve Drown

From the series Uncuffed:

Damon Cooke and JulianGlenn “Luke” Padgett are old friends. They did time together at San Quentin before being transferred to Solano Prison. They also share a common identity: Both of them are Jewish men of color.

Courtesy of Cat Brooks

Cat Brooks is an activist and actress. She was a major voice in advocating for Oscar Grant. Brooks is the executive director of the Justice Team Network, which is an organization that helps people who are victims of state violence and criminalization.

Marco Siler-Gonzales / KALW News

A lower court ruled that tech billionaire Vinod Khosla couldn’t block the access road down to Martins Beach. The U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear an appeal. But even though this case has come to a close, it does not necessarily mean everybody will have access to Martins Beach going forward.

Spoon Jackson keeps writing poetry after 41 years in prison

Oct 3, 2018
Steve Drown and JulianGlenn Padgett

From the series Uncuffed:

Poet Spoon Jackson has won awards from PEN America, provided lyrics for Ani DiFranco, and collaborated with Swedish composer Stefan Säfsten — all while serving time. Now, Spoon is a producer for Uncuffed, KALW’s new series created by men at Solano State Prison.

Courtesy of Libby Schaaf

Four years ago, Libby Schaaf won Oakland’s election for mayor. Since then, the city has experienced major changes, from a rise in homelessness to a tech and real estate boom and winning NBA championships. Mayor Schaaf is campaigning for re-election and is up against nine other candidates.

Courtesty of San Quentin Radio

From San Quentin Radio:

When people are sentenced to prison time in California, they’ll either serve a finite period, like, seven years, or an indefinite period. If they can demonstrate ‘good behavior’ in prison, incarcerated people can be eligible for a parole hearing to decide whether they might be released, with certain conditions. But, being approved for parole doesn’t mean someone gets to go straight home — there’s a catch.

Chris Ghazaleh

The Bay Area is known for its mural art. Vibrant colors, intricate details, and a variety of styles tell the stories of San Francisco’s diverse communities. This summer a new mural in San Francisco went up. It’s called “Humanity is Key” and tells the story of an artist’s homeland: Palestine. KALW’s Mira Nabulsi visited the mural and talked to the artist behind it.

Courtesy of Cedric Troupe

The city of Oakland is in the midst of a big election. There are ten people in the race for mayor. One of them is Cedric Troupe. He’s a swim coach and has a custom integration business where he designs multimedia systems.

Navy vet uses discipline to survive prison

Oct 2, 2018
JulianGlenn Padgett

From the series Uncuffed:

Steve Drown has been doing time since 1978. In his 40-year journey through California prisons, one way Steve has stayed out of trouble is by doing paperwork. For years, he was a clerk, typing up reports every time there was a stabbing or shooting.

Selene Ross / KALW News

Locally-sourced internet? A group of hackers and activists in Oakland are convening to build just that: a decentralized, democratic internet system that is community-owned and operated. The People’s Open Net in the East Bay is what’s called a “wireless mesh network,” connected via rooftop routers that beam signals from house to house.

Courtesy of Jesse Smith

It’s election season and the Oakland mayor’s race is underway. Ten candidates are vying for the big city position. As in past elections, KALW will bring you interviews with all the mayoral candidates.

Steve Drown and JulianGlenn Padgett

From the series Uncuffed:

Damon Cooke says that anger used to make him feel powerful. It would also get him into trouble. After getting locked up, Damon started to think about his relationship with rage as a kind of love affair — one that he had the power to end.

Christine Nguyen / KALW News

Medical care for transgender youth is a new and evolving field. Many doctors don’t know the terminology, best practices, or how to make referrals to specialists. KALW reporter Christine Nguyen, a pediatrician herself, spent some time exploring how health professionals are learning about the medical care of transgender kids.

Filmmaker Amir Soltani and his team spent seven years following the lives of three people who make a living recycling bottles and cans in West Oakland. The film,"Dogtown Redemption", brings up questions about how gentrification affects some of Oakland’s poorest residents.

Courtesty of Eastside Arts Alliance

Twenty years ago, black people made up 35 percent of the city’s population. Since then, there’s been an exodus of black residents from Oakland. Today the black population is just under 25 percent. And the numbers continue to decline.

Emma McAvoy and Holly J. McDede / KALW News

Shortly after Alcatraz prison shut down in 1963, the people who lived and worked on the island began hosting annual get-togethers. When the National Park Service invited the “alumni” to host the reunions on the island, convicts were invited, too. This year, as surviving alumni dwindle, the tradition is coming to an end.

The Black Woman is God transforms conventional notions of divinity through art

Sep 26, 2018
Courtesy of Karen Seneferu

Several years back, Oakland artist Karen Seneferu envisioned a communal space for art made by black women. At the time, there were very few galleries in the Bay Area exhibiting black artists, and even fewer hosting solo exhibitions for them.

How a Beatlemaniac busked her way into her own blues band

Sep 25, 2018
Yoko Arimichi

Yoko Arimichi and her Powell Street Blues Band are celebrating their 40th anniversary at The Saloon in North Beach.  The band formed when Yoko was busking around Powell and Market Streets in the late 70s.  

When you hear the term ‘Black Muslims’ what may come to mind is the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X, or, if you’re from the Oakland, the controversial Your Black Muslim Bakery. Local filmmaker Nijla Mu’min wants to tell a different story.

Eli Wirtschafter / KALW News

Proposition 6 would repeal the gas tax and transportation funding package that Governor Brown signed last year. That could put money back in your pocket at the pump, but take money out of roads and transit.

Jeneé Darden / KALW News

For the past year, KALW has focused in on East Oakland. We've hosted live community events and took our collaborative journalism project Hey Area there to answer your questions about East Oakland. One of the most popular questions we’ve received is: What are the boundaries of East Oakland? KALW’s Oakland reporter Jeneé Darden went searching for the answer.

A taste of the Bay Area’s long history of chocolate

Sep 19, 2018
Asal Ehsanipour / KALW News

The Bay Area’s long history of chocolate spans all the way back to the Gold Rush. Since then, the region has been a source for chocolate innovation again and again, from a Berkeley-based revolution in chocolate desserts to a craft chocolate revolution in the ‘90s that turned the industry on its head.