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

 

Islam has a rich artistic heritage of architecture, design, music, painting, and poetry. Muslim poets like Rumi and Hafez are famous for a depth and beauty that defies time. Today, that poetic tradition is still strong. It's kept alive in what many may perhaps consider an unlikely place—urban America, through the genre of hip hop.

 

Pak Han

In 1963, Duke Ellington made a famous tour and on that stop was Iran. He played jazz clubs in Tehran and Isfahan, and later produced his album Isfahan Blues.

At that same time, Vida Ghahremani, was living in Tehran.  She was a film star there, and decided to open the country's first dance club. Jazz was big in Iran then. Vida Ghahremani is now in California. Her daughter Torange Yaghiazarian is a playwright and Founding Artistic Director of Golden Thread Theatre in San Francisco.

Carolina Lugo is a professional flamenco dancer. In fact, she’s the fourth generation of women flamenco dancers in her family. So when Lugo had a baby girl, she knew that she wanted her to follow in the tradition of her mothers before her. Today, Lugo and her grown-up daughter Carolé Acuña perform together as Ballet Flamenco, bringing the traditional Flamenco dance form, not only to the Bay Area, but to national and international audiences. KALW's Hana Baba sat down with Lugo and Acuña to learn more.

LUGO: The magic that happens on stage with both of us -- the energy we draw from one another -- can't be explained. But it's there.

http://louisearonson.com

We're all getting older, so what are some ways we can embrace it better? When women hit major markers with aging, like menopause, Dr. Louise Aronson, a geriatrician and professor at UCSF, says that there is no reason to get so down about it.

Center for Investigative Reporting

The Center for Investigative Reporting is experimenting with bringing investigative journalism in many formats, from everything from print to live performance to animation. One of their latest projects is Techsploitation, a graphic novel that looks at shady employment practices in the tech world.

To many Americans, Falafel is a fried ball of mashed up garbanzo beans that you can put in a sandwich. But to me, falafel reminds me of where I’m from – Sudan. Until recently, I thought there was really only one way to make it. But it turns out, there are many ways to fry a falafel, depending on where you’re from – and of course, everyone thinks their way is best. So I headed out around the Bay on a falafel shop hop.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/gazeronly/14290955660
Under CC license from Flickr user torbakhopper

The latest edition of the San Francisco Public Press features a report called "Choice is Resegregating Public Schools." In it, reporter Jeremy Adam Smith unveils the reality of diversity, or more accurately the lack thereof, in San Francisco's public schools. San Francisco Unified School District's 'choice' system allows parents to rank and choose any school in the city for their children. Then, a lottery determines where they go.

 

On Thursday, March 26th, at the Tech Museum in San Jose, the Bay Area News Group is screening a documentary as part of its latest investigation into the over-prescription of drugs in California’s foster care system. The state has almost 60,000 foster youth – and one out of every four is given psychotropic drugs. Those are drugs to fix their behavior, not to help a mental illness. And they’re known to have horrible side effects. 

Reporter Karen de Sa spoke with many foster children for the investigative series “Drugging our Kids.” She came by our studios earlier this week to talk about what she discovered.

Courtesy of blackgirlscode.com

Electrical engineer and computer programmer Kimberly Bryant says that when she was in college, she was one of only a few women, and the only black woman, in her graduating class. When she had her own daughter, Kai, she wondered what she could do to get more young girls of color into the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math-- known as STEM.

What's it going to take to get out of the drought?

Mar 12, 2015
Under CC license from Flickr user Janet Ciucci

California is entering its fourth year of drought – and it’s really starting to show in some of the state’s most vital water resources. The Central Valley Project, which supplies water for about a third of California’s farmland, recently announced it had no water to give. That means those farmers will have to seek water elsewhere or let fields go fallow. About six percent of available farmland went unplanted last year due to the drought, resulting in more than $1 billion in lost revenue. The dire situation has left farmers and regular folks alike wondering when’s it going to end.

KALW’s Audrey Dilling has been looking into how much water it would take to get us out of this drought. She joined KALW’s Hana Baba in studio to talk about what she learned.

Meklit Hadero is a co-founder of the musical collaboration, the Nile Project. But Hadero says the music is only the beginning. She joined KALW's Hana Baba in studio to talk about how the project has grown since it first began.

MEKLIT HADERO: The music became a platform for being able to look at how we might actually relate to each other. The music can be a model for the kinds of relationships we want to see in the Nile Basin. If we can build this relationship…what could our Nile Basin look like beyond water resource management?

Hana Baba

In Sudan, where my family is from, there is an ancient beauty ritual that married women perform called dukhan. It’s like a sauna, but with smoke. 

There’s a science to happiness. And one of the centers for its study is right here in the Bay Area.

The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley studies human happiness, compassion and altruism. KALW's Hana Baba wanted to find out the formula, so she went to the center and sat down with its co-director Dacher Keltner, author of the book, Born To Be Good.

Hana Baba

All week long we've been playing this sound, and asking you to guess what exactly it is and where exactly in the Bay Area we recorded it.

Here in America, close to 70 percent of people are overweight. In her new book XL Love: How the Obesity Crisis is Complicating America’s Love Life, local journalist Sarah Varney looks beyond the numbers to explore how issues of weight can do everything from end marriages to over-sexualize girls as young as nine years old. Varney sat down with KALW's Hana Baba to talk about the the threat obesity poses to not just our health, but to our happiness.

 

The world is united in grief over recent attacks on French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. Meanwhile, Muslims are facing violence in the aftermath. Many have denounced it, including the family of a Muslim police officer killed by the gunmen. And many Muslims say what’s needed is a dialogue between civilizations to understand each other on a human level. One way to do that is through sharing ancient art.

Nellie Large

Seafarers, from fisherman to explorers, have been coming to Bay Area ports for centuries. Maritime historian Lincoln Paine says our relationship with the ocean has been instrumental in shaping not only the history of the Bay Area, but of the entire world. His latest book, Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World, charts 3,500 years of maritime commerce and discovery. KALW's Hana Baba spoke with him about the importance of the sea and its formative role in creating the bustling cities surrounding the Bay.

Hana Baba

While the majority of the world’s Christians celebrate Christmas on December 25th, a number of Orthodox sects follow an older-than-Gregorian calendar. They celebrate every year on January 7th. 

Jimmy Carter's call to action.

Dr. Robert Okin served as chief of Psychiatry at San Francisco General hospital for 17 years. During that time, he cared for many of the people you see on the city’s streets when they end up in the hospital. Okin says many homeless people suffer from mental illness and as we walk by them on the street, we too often fail to remember that they are just like you and me. So, Dr. Okin spent two years photographing and talking to San Francisco’s homeless population, collecting their profiles in a photo essay book called Silent Voices: People with Mental Disorders on the Street.

Hana Baba

Racial and religious stereotyping are sadly a reality we still have to live with in the United States. You hear that discussed nowadays in light of police shootings of young African American men, or in African immigrant communities around the country that are dealing with another form of discrimination: harassment based on Ebola stigma. Over the weekend, Bay Area African leaders and activists gathered in Oakland to discuss what should be done about it. 

Courtesy of oaklandnorth.net

Antwan Wilson is the new head of Oakland Unified School District. Wilson spent five years as Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Denver before coming to Oakland schools last July. He arrived with a reputation for turning things around.

Laura Mason

 

In 1996, Bay Area journalist Gary Webb wrote a series of articles in the San Jose Mercury News proving that in the 80s, the CIA and DEA helped facilitate drug trafficking into the U.S. in order to give Nicaraguan Contra fighters funding to topple the communist Sandinista government.

US Census / US Census

It’s hard to define individual identity. For example, if you're Spanish speaking, what do you call yourself? Latino? Hispanic? Something else? Berkeley professor G. Cristina Mora dug into the  history of what Spanish speakers were called in America in her new book 'Making Hispanics: How Activists, Bureaucrats and Media constructed a New American.' It tells the story of how and when Spanish speakers in America got their own ethnic category on the US census, and what that iconic moment led to. G. Cristina Mora joined Hana Baba in studio, and Mora told her that story. 

 

When a rape is reported, the victim is medically examined, and the biological evidence acquired in that exam is called a "rape kit." That rape kit is used by prosecutors who try to bring the perpetrator to justice.

At least that's what is supposed to happen. But in many cases, it doesn't. Last month, a state audit found that half of all rape kits at the Oakland Police Department were never analyzed. Rape kit backlogs, it turns out, are plaguing the state. In Alameda County alone, the audit found close to 2,000 untested kits, dating back to 2001.

www.prisonerswithchildren.org

In 1969, Dorsey Nunn was sentenced to life in prison for killing a man. After serving 12 years of his sentence, Nunn was paroled in 1981. Back on the outside, he realized there was very little help for him or people like him to make new lives. He took matters into his own hands and started working with other formerly incarcerated people to address issues of employment, education, and voting rights. 

Under CC license from Flickr user Jon Starbuck.

KALW’s Liz Pfeffer speaks with Hana Baba about housing-related measures on the upcoming San Francisco ballot, including Propositions K and G.

http://www.nunsonthebusmovie.com/

As head of the Catholic Social Justice group network, Sister Simone Campbell, who is a nun, worked for immigration reform, healthcare, and economic justice. In 2010, when the Affordable Care Act was being debated in Congress, she wrote a letter in support of the bill, and was able to get 60 signatures from religious orders in the US on it.

Note: The San Francisco Unified School District owns KALW's broadcast license. 

Nollywood Mindspace

 

For the past five years, Chike Nwoffiah has put together the Silicon Valley African Film Festival, which screens and celebrates films from fifteen different African countries. Nowadays, it's become more than a film fest; This year there's an African market, a visual arts exhibit, and a forum that features African women who work in tech. Nwoffiah hopes all this will help festival-goers understand the complexity of the continent.

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