Crosscurrents Podcast | KALW

Crosscurrents Podcast

Ken Lund / Flickr Creative Commons

Nearly 700 people died from drug overdoses in San Francisco in 2020. That’s more than the number of people who died from COVID-19 in San Francisco in the same year. Some people blame San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin for not being tough enough on the people selling drugs. In this installment of The Progressive Prosecutor, we look at the role of progressive prosecutors in the opioid epidemic.

Today we’re going behind the scenes with the operators who pick up the phone when people call seeking housing or shelter in Alameda County in another story from the 99% Invisible project "According To Need." Then, theater director Michael French talks about what drew his heart to the stage.

Vaccination Update / Making 'Throughline'

Feb 22, 2021

California has ramped up its vaccinations and is averaging about a million doses a week, but community advocates worry speed could bypass equity. And, we hear from the hosts of NPR's Throughline about making a show that explores the backstory behind today’s news headlines.

San Francisco's police union fires back after District Attorney Chesa Boudin charges several police officers. And one family impacted by police violence continues to wait for another chance at justice. Today, we bring you the latest in the series, The Progressive Prosecutor. Then, Oakland artist Jason McDonald talks about the lack of diversity in glassblowing.

According To Need, Chapter 1 (excerpt)

Feb 17, 2021

In Oakland, when someone has nowhere to turn for shelter, they can call 211. But for many, that means being added to a list ... and waiting. Today, it’s a special episode from the 99% Invisible project “According To Need.” 

Dyslexia In Public Schools / New Arrivals

Feb 16, 2021

An African American woman from Oakland fights for educational justice for her grandkids. Today, an award-winning documentary, on why students are falling behind in school. Then, a new poetry collection is a love letter to San Francisco’s queer community.

The Progressive Prosecutor Pt. 4 / Uncuffed

Feb 11, 2021

Chesa Boudin’s first year as San Francisco’s District Attorney ended in controversy. Today, in the latest installment of The Progressive Prosecutor, we hear about growing efforts to remove Boudin from office. Then, we look at life on the other side of the carceral system in a story from the Uncuffed team at San Quentin.

Food banks have had to get creative to reach a growing number of people in need during the pandemic. Today we meet a woman who helps run outdoor pop-up pantries. Then, we go behind-the-scenes of the San Francisco/Marin Food Bank distribution center. And, we talk to the new executive director of the food bank about how they’re meeting the rising demand for help.

Today, we hear from a Bay Area nurse who’s working on a local COVID-19 vaccine trial. Then, Bay Area pastors are helping with vaccine outreach. And, we go to an art studio for people with disabilities to find out how they've adapted during the pandemic.

Uncuffed: Letters From The Outside

Feb 8, 2021

The COVID-19 outbreak in prisons across California is still taking an incredible toll. We hear from people  writing letters to reach their incarcerated loved ones who they haven't been able to see since the beginning of the pandemic. And, we hear what it was like for one man to leave prison knowing that he left his best friend behind. Today, we're bringing you a special episode from Uncuffed.

The Progressive Prosecutor Pt. 3 / The Power Of Drag

Feb 4, 2021

The pandemic plus advocates, organizers, and a determined district attorney all made it possible to shut down an unsafe San Francisco jail. But it also created new problems. Today, we look at the meaning of safety in the next installment of "The Progressive Prosecutor." Then, San Francisco drag artist Bebe Sweetbriar talks about the power of drag.

When live music venues closed for safety reasons, touring musicians lost their social and professional networks. Today, we meet Zach Moses Ostroff who is keeping his artistic spirit going. Then, local skating legend Tommy Guerrero finds rhythm on the skateboard and on the bass. And, some local singles have been missing sex and intimacy during the pandemic.

When city services shut their doors last March, many employees were assigned new jobs to help fight the pandemic. Today, we meet a San Francisco librarian turned contact tracer. Then, Oakland writer Aiden Thomas makes history with his groundbreaking paranormal novel "Cemetery Boys." And, we hear a reading from a children’s book about surviving hard times. Plus, today's local music features El Tee, who is originally from the North Bay. Her new album is called "Everything Is Fine."

In the first half of his term as California’s governor, Gavin Newsom has faced historic challenges. Today, it's a special presentation from CapRadio News looking at his successes and shortcomings. Plus, two Bay Area authors are finalists for National Book Critics Circle awards. We hear readings from authors Alia Voltz and C Pam Zhang.

Today, we look at the history of the San Francisco District Attorney's office. It's the next story in our series The Progressive Prosecutor. Then, we ask musician Tom Heyman to spill the dirt on the wild stories from his bluesy songs.

California has moved on to a new vaccination phase: Now, people 65 and older have priority. But, there’s very limited supply. Today, we hear about the challenges health departments are facing. Then, we meet a chiropractor in a story from our @WORK series. And, we go behind the scenes with Meredith Winner, looking at how the mural paintings in downtown Oakland were organized. Plus, today's local music features Nopes from Oakland. Their new album Djörk came out this month.

A Bay Area non-profit is bringing laughter to hospitals and assisted living centers. Today, we hear why clowning is essential. Then, 99% Invisible host Roman Mars talks about how he got his start in radio — and, we look at some of the hidden designs found right here in Oakland. Plus, today's local music features Bay Area-based band Flamango Bay. They're performing a livestream set with the Art House Gallery this Saturday.

President Biden’s inaugural speech was focused on unity. But, how can we achieve it? Today, we talk to Professor john a. powell of UC Berkeley's Othering and Belonging Institute. Then, we hear how some seniors are coping in this time of isolation. And, do you ever wonder why there’s not a single billboard on most of highway 280?

The Progressive Prosecutor Pt 1 / Chinatown Pretty

Jan 21, 2021

Today, we look at how a decision Chesa Boudin's parents made shaped his path from the public defender's office to the prosecutor's seat. It's the first installment of a new series, "The Progressive Prosecutor." Then, the authors of a new book take a deep dive into the fashion and lives of seniors living in various Chinatowns. Plus, we hear new music from local band Bombsnax.

Today, we hear from a visual journalist who documented this year’s events during a global pandemic. Then, a health equity expert pushes back on the hesitancy many Black people feel about getting the COVID-19 vaccine. And, we meet San Francisco’s new poet laureate.

Today, a farmer talks about how the pandemic has changed her work. It's part of an ongoing series called "At Work." Then, we hear from California’s youngest new assemblymember who started his campaign at just 23. And, we check out a famous piece of art by Diego Rivera in the city. Plus, an episode from the New Arrivals podcast.

Andrew Stelzer

The three largest mental health treatment facilities in the U.S. are jails. The criminal justice system has become the primary way the United States deals with mental illness. In the second of a two-part documentary, we see how some communities are working to find solutions to this misalignment of care.

Listen to part one of this audio documentary here.

Andrew Stelzer / KALW

In part one of a two-part investigation into how the country’s jails have become our default mental health treatment centers, we go to Santa Rita jail in Alameda County, one of the largest — and deadliest — jails in California.

Listen to part two of this series here.

The Stoop: That Black Tax

Jan 12, 2021

When you’re the one in your family who ‘made it’ sometimes there’s an expectation to share your wealth and help relatives. Black communities call it the Black Tax. Whether you’re African American, or a Black immigrant, it’s the feeling of obligation that comes with prosperity. Today, an episode from The Stoop podcast. 

Today, we meet the Fox Guy, a man devoted to protecting the elusive gray fox and other animals that live along the bay. Then, we consider what happens when certain species get more attention from conservationists than others. And, we hear about a climate change initiative that aims to improve overall quality of life.

In today's show, California lawmakers describe their experience under attack at the U.S. Capitol. Then, we get an update on why the COVID-19 vaccine rollout has been slower than expected. And, we hear Shirley Weber's plans for her role as California's next Secretary of State. Plus, an episode from the New Arrivals podcast, featuring a local author.

Christine Nguyen / KALW

Many people don’t recognize dementia, and not recognizing it can lead to death. Most caregivers are unprepared to manage dementia in their own family. And, for many ethnic minorities, such as Vietnamese, there is little support.

The Stoop: Black On Air

Dec 17, 2020

Black women journalists have had to face criticism and jump over many hurdles to be seen and taken seriously. We explore what it means to be a Black woman on the air today. And, we go back in time to hear what it was like in the past with a Bay Area broadcasting pioneer. Veteran journalist Belva Davis, plus Jemele Hill. It’s a special episode from The Stoop podcast: Black on Air.

Skye Heritage

In this story from The Spiritual Edge, we meet Sarah Byrne-Martelli, a hospital chaplain who is caring for COVID-19 patients when their families can't visit because she believes no one should die alone.

Sacred Steps: Making Space For Women In Mosques

Dec 15, 2020
Azad Essa / Middle East Eye

From The Spiritual Edge, this is the story of how Malcolm X inspired an outspoken Christian girl from Alabama, and how she went on to inspire a national campaign and a fatwa — a religious legal opinion — aimed at persuading the men who control America’s mosques to share space and power.