Hana Baba

News Reporter/Host

Hana Baba is a reporter and host of Crosscurrents, KALW's evening newsmagazine. She's also part of KALW's project The Spiritual Edge.

She interviews and reports on ethnic communities, poverty, health, culture, religion, arts, and the global nature of the San Francisco Bay Area.  Her work also appears on NPR programs, PRI's The World, BBC World Service, and New America Media. A Sudanese-American, Hana also reports from and about Sudan and Sudanese.

Ways To Connect

Photo courtesy of http://www.benetech.org/about/

The Silicon Valley company Benetech’s motto is “Technology serving humanity.” It’s a different type of tech venture. It measures its success not in dollars, but by service to society and the environment. The man who founded Benetech is Jim Fruchterman, a former rocket scientist turned pioneer in this field called “social technology.” He was named a Macarthur Fellow, a “genius,” for his work. Fruchterman came by spoke with KALW’s Hana Baba about why he chose social good over monetary profit.

Since 9/11, surveillance of Muslims has been on the rise. New York City made national news in February when the Associated Press broke the story about the NYPD spying on area mosques. AP won a Pullitzer Prize for that reporting.

About a month later, in March, we received similar news much closer to home. The ACLU announced it had documents showing the FBI spied on mosques here in the San Francisco Bay Area between 2004 and 2008.

When scientists started studying genomes, and then sequencing them, their work was hailed as revolutionary. But, they were mostly done in connection with Caucasian genes and some African and East Asian populations. One of the races no one studied was the Persian race. That is, until last year. Stanford researchers received a $250,000 grant from a Persian American foundation called PARSA to study the Iranian genome. The idea is to learn more about the history and varied cultures of the Iranian people, and to explore the field of personalized medicine.

As the number of Americans receiving food stamps increases – it has now reached an all time high of more than 21 and a half million households – an ongoing debate over whether the system is working has emerged.

Last fall, over a dozen members of Congress took the “Food Stamp Challenge” to see what it was like to live solely on a food stamp budget for a week. Bay Area representatives Barbara Lee of Oakland and Jackie Speier of San Mateo both participated. Congresswoman Lee had to live on four dollars and fifty cents a day.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user KayVee.INC

On June 5th, San Franciscans will be voting on many things, one of which has to do with their trash.

Since the 1930s, the company Recology has been taking care of The City’s trash and recycling, with no competition. This year, proponents of Proposition A want to change that by opening up the city's trash collection and processing services to a competitive bidding process. Other companies – even out of state ones – would have the chance to bid for the job.

Courtesy of Flickr user Clinton Steeds

One of the decisions Californians will make this June 5th is whether or not to change the amount of time legislators serve in office, mostly to lessen their terms from 14 years to 12. Prop 28 says that should happen, opponents disagree. As the discussion over legislative term limits heats up, the question at the core of Prop 28 is how long Californians think their representatives should represent them. Should they be left to serve longer and become more established as legislators? Or, should there be an encouragement of new blood in the State Assembly and Senate?

Societies around the world recognize child literacy and elementary education as human rights. It’s actually guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 24 of that Convention also guarantees the following:

“States Parties recognize the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health. States Parties shall strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services.”

Dr. Wes Watkins, IV has built his whole life’s work around the idea that there’s no better example of democracy than a Jazz ensemble. Dr. Watkins is the founder of the Bay Area-based Jazz & Democracy Project. He devised a curriculum that teaches schoolchildren lessons in jazz alongside American history and the democratic process.

As the possibility of another $200 million cut in CSU funding looms this year, all eyes are on the November elections to see whether or not voters will approve Governor Jerry Brown’s tax initiative. It would increase taxes by one percent for Californians earning over $250,000, by two percent for those earning $500,000, and temporarily increase the sales tax by half-a-percent. If it’s not approved, CSU funding will be cut.

According to the anti-bullying organization No Bully, an estimated 160,000 children refuse to go to school on any given day because they dread the physical and verbal aggression of their peers. Tomorrow, students across the country will participate in a national day of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of bullying and harassment in schools.

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