Crosscurrents Podcast | KALW

Crosscurrents Podcast

Today, we hear how work culture is changing — for good. Then, a Burning Man project connected people in the desert with strangers around the world. 

UC Santa Cruz was evacuated because of the CZU fires. We hear what it’s like for some of the students and staff. Then, Burning Man is canceled, but you can still experience sounds and scenes from the playa. And, we get a mini-reading from a Bay Area author.

At least 350 thousand acres have burned in the North Bay — we’ll get an update on the LNU Lightning Complex Fires. Then, normally right now, around 80,000 people would be preparing for their annual pilgrimage to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. Not this year. Like everything else, Burning Man is canceled. Instead, put on your headphones and take a trip to the playa with stories from the latest season of The Intersection.

People who were pregnant at the start of the pandemic are just beginning to deliver their babies — we find out what researchers are learning about the effects of the coronavirus on pregnancy. Then, a San Francisco poet uses flowers as a theme to address some heavy issues. And, a San Jose author’s new novel is set in the Kurdish region of Iran.

COVID-19 rates are skyrocketing in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood, as low-income immigrants risk infection to go to work. We look at Fruitvale’s infection rate and the community organizations trying to help. Then, Oakland artist Paul Lewin talks about Afrofuturistic art and what it means to him. And, we hear a local poet reading from her new collection, "Rift Zone."

Hair salon owners in the East Bay are finding creative ways to protest health guidelines keeping them shut. Then, artists are using their talents to bring awareness to the 2020 Census. And, San Francisco author A.H. Kim reads a passage from her latest novel.

San Francisco’s treasurer talks about a population that’s being forgotten in the pandemic. When shops go cashless what does that mean for the unbanked? Then, in a new installment The Essentials, we hear how Phaethon Brown is making sure BART is safe for employees and riders during the pandemic. And we catch up with Uncuffed producer Chanthon Bun, who’s been out of San Quentin for over a month now.

Singer Naima Shalhoub talks about her new album and what she learned from men in a Lebanese prison. Then, what happens when you sing a song with toxic lyrics on repeat for three days straight?

Showcase: Learning While Black / Bounce

Aug 12, 2020

School is starting back up for many students in the Bay Area and today we meet three generations of one Black San Francisco family who discuss their experiences in public school, from our series "Learning While Black." Then, we meet an Oakland barber who has some very special clients and tells us how he became one of their biggest fans.

Lee Romney / KALW

Kids around the Bay Area are going back to school. So today, we’re re-airing this story from our series, "Learning While Black: The Fight For Equity In San Francisco Schools." And, it just won an award from the Public Media Journalists Association.

African American students across the country are much more likely than any other student group to be placed in special education, and that’s true at San Francisco Unified too. The district’s troubled history has plenty to teach us about what is and isn’t working for black students with special needs today.

What Can COVID-19 Teach Us About Climate Change? (Ep. 4)

Aug 6, 2020
Lisa Morehouse / KALW

Originally, we were planning to do this series at the beginning of this year… but then COVID-19 hit. We had to put our climate change reporting on pause to focus on covering the coronavirus. But of course, climate change has not paused. In the final episode of our series, we find out what the pandemic can teach us about climate change. And, we talk to a psychiatrist about how to cope.

Who Should Be Responsible For Saving The Planet? (Ep. 3)

Aug 5, 2020
Courtesy of Our Children's Trust

Climate change is a juggernaut — a huge, powerful, and overwhelming force. It's overwhelming because it’s a powerful force, and also because the very things that have created it are such deeply-rooted institutions. Fossil fuels are so ubiquitous and the industry that produces them so powerful, that challenging their influence can seem hopeless. In this episode, we hear about young people who are suing over their right to life, liberty ... and a healthy planet. Then, what do we do when one of the things that unites us is also a major contributor to climate change?

The Unseen Consequences Of Wildfire Smoke (Ep. 2)

Aug 4, 2020
James R Morrin Jr / Wikimedia Commons

Many of the extraordinary consequences of climate change are happening in a way we can't immediately feel in our everyday lives — like desertification, sea-level rise, mass human migration. But for Californians, there is one glaring exception: Wildfires. Over the last several years, they’ve become a constant presence in our lives, and the long-term effects of wildfire smoke is worse for some than others. In this episode, we start with the story of Ta'Kira Dannette Byrd, an 11-year-old girl who lives in Vallejo. Then, we hear why some domestic workers' jobs could get even riskier. 

Angela Johnston

2020 has been a historically tense year. We’ve got a pandemic that won’t end, the biggest mass protests in American history, a divisive presidential election coming, and, by the way, global temperature rise is rapidly approaching the point of no return. It’s a frightening thought. What was true before COVID-19 is even truer now: When we try to think and talk about climate change, it’s normal to become overwhelmed. This week, we're bringing you a series about the emotional and physical impacts of climate change. And we begin with a story about sea-level rise.

Oakland officials are launching a task force to reimagine public safety. We hear about Bay Area city leaders taking a hard look at police budgets. Then, cellist Joshua McClain sparks people’s imaginations with his mystic sounds And, we hear how the Town got its colors. Plus, a reading from Oakland author Elwin Cotman.

Some California residents feel safer on the streets than in the shelters the state has provided, despite the health risks of living outdoors. Our partners at Valley Public Radio bring us a story about a team of physicians and medical students who are bringing healthcare to the streets. Then, the band The Seshen wants to redefine what it means to be a pop star. And, we hear a reading from a local author’s new young adult fantasy novel

Lately, people have been spending a lot more time indoors with their pets. So, what happens when our furry friends get sick or injured in the age of COVID? We find out from a San Francisco vet. Then, best-selling author Mary Monroe's latest book, inspired by real-life characters, is about neighbors who learn the hard way that the grass isn't always greener on the other side. And, from our producers at Solano State Prison, a story about the wild side of being a bike messenger

COVID cases are on the rise in the Bay Area and more people are getting tested. Now, there’s a backlog. We hear why testing varies from site to site and how the state plans to fix that. We also get an answer to a question about whether negative test results can be trusted. Then, a San Francisco event designer talks about traveling the globe planning luxurious parties and affairs.

Plus, today's local music features Prys, a bi-coastal Philadelphia-Oakland duo. They released their debut record, ISLY, earlier this year.

Oakland received a multi-million dollar grant to fund environmental projects in the deep east. We hear about that and skepticism from some residents. Then, an Oakland R&B artist found their identity through performing. Plus, a reading from a new book about fermentation.

Even before the coronavirus lockdown, fishing was a complicated industry. What is it like to juggle a fishing career and a family during COVID? Then, Oakland rapper Jwalt shares why he got so personal on his debut album. And, a role-playing game brings incarcerated people together.

Today, we get to the bottom a new noise on the northside of San Francisco. Then, UC Berkeley’s journalism school has a new dean who is promising change. And, we get an unexpected answer to a question about the most influential Latinos in the Bay Area.

Redefining Aging / Golden Gate Parkcast / New Arrivals

Jul 15, 2020

Best-selling author and geriatrician Louise Aronson wants us to redefine aging. Then, the Golden Gate Parkcast brings us a quixotic story that takes place at the ends of the earth. And, a reading from a local author’s new science fiction novel.

A report from UC Merced shows pandemic-related job losses have hit non-citizens hardest, and in particular undocumented women. Then, we hear how the pandemic has changed the daily routine of a laundromat owner in Richmond. And, from the producers of Uncuffed, what it’s like to be coping with depression in prison. Plus, a mini-reading from a new book by a Bay Area author. Today's featured local music is from Madeline Kenney's new album Sucker's Lunch.

Bo Walsh / KALW

In November of 2018, Chico resident and expecting mother-to-be Kaylan Sigel began writing letters in a journal to her unborn son. Four days after penning the first entry, Kaylan’s life was turned upside down when the Camp Fire of Butte County burned down her home.

Alpine county has been working for three years to change the name of a mountain peak named after a Confederate president. Why does it take so long? Then, the musical Hamilton is giving high school students a new way to see and hear history. And, we’re headed to the west side of Golden Gate Park, where marksmen and women take aim. Plus, a new reading from our "New Arrivals" series.

As COVID continues to spread throughout California prisons, and cases in San Quentin surpass 1,400, people share letters they wrote to their incarcerated loved ones. And, we hear from one of the men who, until last week, was behind bars at San Quentin. It's a special episode from the Uncuffed team.

Santa Clara County passed a resolution declaring that racism is a public health crisis. What does that mean for the county? Then, book shop supporters around the Bay Area rally to save their beloved independents. And, a reading from a local author’s new novel.

COVID-19 cases at San Quentin State prison have surpassed one thousand. We hear from a law professor who has been following the outbreak. Then, we return to San Francisco’s backyard, for the next installment of the Golden Gate Parkcast, where we meet the park’s hairiest denizens. And, a reading from a local children’s author whose new book is about surfing... and emotions.

Plus, today's local music is Oakland-based artist Baeilou featuring Mani Draper from Richmond. Their new track "Uneven" was produced by Nahuel Bronzini.

Shaina Shealy

In this story from The Spiritual Edge, we meet a Palestinian man trying to navigate one of the thorniest conflicts imaginable — whether Palestinians and Israelis can exist peacefully on a landmass barely bigger than the nine-county Bay Area.

Ash Ponders

Most religions teach people to help those in need. But what happens when that mandate clashes with how the government views the law? In this story from The Spiritual Edge, we hear how federal prosecutors cracked down on volunteers providing aid on the border.