Crosscurrents | KALW


Monday-Thursday at 5pm

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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Page Hodel

Today is Valentine’s Day. To celebrate we want to share with you a love story set here in the Bay Area.

'Harpist from the Hood' follows path of musical Destiny

Feb 14, 2019
Courtesty of Destiny Muhammad

When she was a child, Stephanie Louis developed a strong connection to the harp after watching a performance on I Love Lucy. But it took decades for her to change her career, city, and even her name to fulfill her passion: music. Today, audiences know her as Destiny Muhammad, the 'Harpist from the Hood'.

Jeremy Dalmas / KALW News


After a failed coup in 2016, the Turkish government closed 169 newspapers, publishers, and TV and radio stations. Thousands of reporters lost their jobs, or worse. Currently Turkey has more journalists in jail than any other country in the world.

Cartoonist Breena Nuñez Peralta draws her experiences in comics

Feb 13, 2019

The success of the movies "Black Panther" and "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" has a lot of people talking about diversity in the comics industry. And, in the Bay Area, Oakland cartoonist and educator Breena Nuñez Peralta explores narratives rarely touched on in mainstream cartoons.

Bay Area Beats: Jamie Zee

Feb 12, 2019
Courtesy of Jamie Zee

While studying classical voice at San Francisco's public arts high-school, Jamie Zee felt drawn to jazz music. The genre’s non conformist ethos seemed to mirror Zee’s experience as a half white, half Chinese, bisexual and non binary person.

The last black man in San Francisco

Feb 12, 2019
LBMSF Kickstarter Campaign


San Francisco is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the country -- but it has one of the lowest populations of African-Americans. In 1990, 11% of city residents were African-American. In 2001, it was 7.8%. Now, it’s just 6%. San Francisco native Jimmie Fails says it makes him feel like the last black man in the whole city.

Steve Baker / Used under CC BY-ND 2.0 / cropped

A new law went into effect this year, requiring police to release certain disciplinary records. But some police unions are fighting to keep records hidden.

How it feels to go up for parole for the 13th time

Feb 11, 2019
Steve Drown

From the series Uncuffed:

Damon L. Cooke recently attended his thirteenth parole suitability hearing. He’s been incarcerated for 28 years. His fellow Uncuffed reporters, Spoon Jackson, Steve Drown, and me, Brian Thames, anxiously awaited his return to ask him about the process and results.

Courtesy of The Marsh

Playwright Lisa Rothman is an East Oakland mom. One day she took her kids to a Winter Solstice Carnival in Marin, and things were never the same. She saw moms keeping very close tabs on their kids, a fire-breathing dragon, and an overall attitude that neither she nor her Oakland-raised kids understood.

Eli Wirtschafter / KALW

San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Center is six months old. The huge bus station, and planned high speed rail station, opened to a lot of fanfare. And then, six weeks later, workers found cracks in the building’s structure. It’s been closed ever since, and repairs have only just begun.

Finding home in San Jose's Grand Century Mall

Feb 7, 2019
Christine Nguyen


I’ve moved 16 times. So when I settled in San Jose, I thought I could finally get some real Vietnamese food.

But where to go?

Sara Nora Koust / KALW

Elsa Guerra has experienced several serious health scares. But it never stopped her from taking care of others. Today, she’s a great grandmother, and teaches Bay Area residents about nutrition for the non-profit 18 Reasons, working to empower low-income earners through cooking cheap, nutritious, and delicious food.

Isaac Emrick / Courtesy of Oakland Education Association

Members of the Oakland teachers union just voted to authorize a strike. The school board voted to close the first of what it expects will be a number of schools — to help keep costs down. These are tough times for Oakland Unified.

Andreas Zhou


Every Lunar New Year, Chinese American women from across the country travel to San Francisco to participate in the Miss Chinatown USA pageant — an ethnic beauty pageant that’s been a national event since the late fifties.

Pumping up bodies and spirits at God's Gym

Feb 5, 2019

The training floor of God’s Gym is definitely old school – one room crammed with barbells, benches, and ancient weight machines.

Bay Area Beats: Chhoti Maa

Feb 5, 2019
Elizabeth Michelini Franco, styled by Vania Michelini Castillo

Rooted in Mexican oral tradition, Chhoti Maa raps, sings, and writes about migration, queerness, and indigenous spirituality. The Oakland based artist talks about her latest album, "Caldo de Hueso," meaning bone broth.

Courtesy of the Berkeley Flea Market

The Berkeley Flea Market is a weekly gathering in the parking lot of the Ashby BART station. It’s brought together vendors, musicians, and community members for nearly half-century. But now, the group that runs the market has shut it down for the next couple of months.

Hannah Kingsley-Ma


Oakland writer Chizu Omori and her family were among the near 120,000 Japanese Americans forced to leave their homes and relocate to incarceration camps during World War II. Omori was just 12 years old when she was sent to Poston, a camp in the desert of Arizona.

Steve Drown

When I first heard of Thomas “Truck” Evans, I was instantly interested. I wanted to know how a man without a truck teaches a truck driving class in a prison. It turns out he did have a truck. This man had built a simulated dash out of random scraps of cardboard and plastic containers.

Ali Eminov / Flickr Creative Commons, used under CC BY-NC 2.0 / cropped

The South Bay used to be an area where African Americans flourished. Since the late 1700s, through the Great Migration and the civil rights movement of the 60s, black families thrived, working in the car industry, public service, and yes — technology.

Courtesy of the Oakland Athletics

From our Audiograph archives:

The Bay Area has a rich pro sports scene with distinctive voices who bring us all the action.

Courtesty of Camp Santo

“Candlestick” is the latest production from San Francisco theatre company Campo Santo. The drama follows a group of longtime Bayview residents and 49ers fans tailgating during the team’s final season at Candlestick Park, and explores the changing face of the Bay Area before the niners move to Santa Clara.

Liza Veale / KALW

After a year and a half of negotiations, a diverse group of Bay Area officials, housing advocates, and other stakeholders have signed off on what they’re calling a “grand bargain” on housing.

Courtesty of Center for Youth Wellness

Govenor Gavin Newsom early last week announced a new position of state surgeon general. And it’s pretty much custom made for Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, the high-profile San Francisco pediatrician he appointed to fill it.  

San Francisco taxi driver Kelly Dessaint began his 20-year career in print media publishing zines. Then in 2015, he landed a weekly column in the San Francisco Examiner called I Drive SF, which chronicles his experiences on the road.

Eli Wirtschafter / KALW

Hundreds of San Francisco taxi drivers are in debt after paying $250,000 for medallions, licenses to drive in the city. The city’s plan to help that group of drivers comes at the expense of other drivers, who have also suffered from the taxi industry’s collapse.

Dependence: a story of motherhood and addiction

Jan 29, 2019
Rachel Cassandra / KALW

Bay Area reporter Rachel Cassandra spent nine months reporting in Fresno, a city with a long history of high rates of intravenous drug use. Rachel met Amanda, who is struggling with both homelessness and heroin addiction. This is her story, as told in the audio documentary, Dependence.

Holly J. McDede / KALW

When the Camp Fire ravaged Paradise in November, the whole town was incinerated. Many who escaped the flames had to abandon precious valuables, and in some cases, also the cremated remains of people they love. Months after the fire, survivors are still hoping to find those cremains.

Steve Drown

From the series Uncuffed:

Gary “Midnight” Pedersen is a skinhead. He’ll tell you that himself. But he’s also a man who values family and friendships. I sat down to chat with Midnight about some of his lingering supremacist views, and what it means to have one black friend in the world: me.

Jenee Darden / KALW

Twenty thousand people poured into Downtown Oakland to kick off Senator Kamala Harris' presidential run. She was born in Oakland and served as Alameda County’s Deputy District Attorney back in the '90s.