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.

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The latest census numbers say that Latinos make of 38 percent of California’s population, a voting bloc to be reckoned with on issues like domestic workers, farm labor, and immigration. Latino San Francisco Supervisors Avalos, Campos, and Olague are up for reelection in Latino-majority districts.

KALW’s Hana Baba spoke with Marcos Gutierrez, host of the show "Hecho en California" on KIQI 1010 AM based in Daly City, about the Latino vote in California.

Flickr user greendoula

On September 18th, an incident cut short an Oakland City Council meeting (see what happened in the video below).

We continue the joint series with our friends at New America Media discussing the issues that various Bay Area ethnic communities care about this election year, and where they stand on local issues. Every Tuesday until election day, we’ll be speaking with representatives from local ethnic media to hear about what’s important to their audiences.

As part of our joint series with New America Media, every Tuesday until election day, Crosscurrents will be speaking with representatives from local ethnic media to hear about what’s important to their audiences this election season.

This Bay Area Life

Sep 6, 2012

This edition of Crosscurrents is a special one-hour show dedicated to an interview with This American Life host Ira Glass by Hana Baba in KALW studios, and stories from his show that were based in the Bay Area. In that spirit, we’re calling this show This Bay Area Life (in which Hana tries to pull off a subtle imitation of Glass).

Flickr user antderosa

The Democratic National Convention is underway in Charlotte, North Carolina, and current and former Bay Area political stars are taking the stage. Speaking at the convention are House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, Congresswomen Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, and California Attorney General- Kamala Harris. 

The economic recession hit many Bay Area cities hard, including the city of Newark in southern Alameda County. In January 2010, dozens of employees were laid off or lost hours, and all but the most essential city services were cut. One of the casualties of Newark’s budget crunch was its decades-old senior center.

Genealogy is becoming an easier field to navigate these days, with websites and organizations encouraging people to discover their family heritage.

That’s what Oakland’s Regina Mason did, but on her own. In the upcoming film Gina’s Journey, Mason chronicles her adventure in searching for her family history. Being an African American, that meant she would surely encounter slavery, which she did.

The Republican National Convention is underway in Tampa, Florida, after being postponed because of Hurricane Isaac. Although it’s been on the quiet side overall today, we were curious as to what the mood is like, what delegates are talking about, and what to expect over the next few days. San Francisco Examiner contributor Melissa Griffin is on the ground in Tampa. She spoke with KALW’s Hana Baba about her impressions on how the event is shaping up so far.

Listen to the full interview above.

Earlier today Governor Jerry Brown announced that he had reached a deal with state lawmakers that would mean sweeping changes for California’s public pensions system, and affect hundreds of thousands of state workers. The new rules would cap pensions while increasing the amount employees pay in; they would also increase the retirement age by up to seven years.

The California Department of Health has issued a scathing report about a board-and-care home for people with disabilities in Sonoma County.

The Sonoma Developmental Center houses about 500 patients in the city of Eldridge. California Watch obtained a copy of the nearly 500 page document which details numerous citations of neglect and abuse by staff, including sexual abuse and violence, as well as lack of action on these cases by on-site law enforcement.

Flickr user Crisis Hopkins

You might remember the TV program “Whose Line Is it Anyway?” where four comics get on stage with no script or plan whatsoever, take suggestions for skits from the audience, and then see what happens. 

New legislation has reached the Governor’s desk that would change the way juveniles are sentenced. Senate Bill SB9, introduced by State Senator Leland Yee of San Francisco introduced the legislation ,which would allow people who are serving life without parole for crimes they committed when they were juveniles, to ask for sentences of 25 years to life instead.

Thousands of Californians spent years working for city governments and are now collectively owed billions of dollars in retiree health care benefits. But a new study by the nonprofit research group California Common Sense finds that many cities, including Oakland and San Francisco, haven’t ever set aside money to pay these costs.

Flickr user D.H. Parks, Under CC License / http://www.flickr.com/photos/parksdh/

Last night’s fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond put city residents in a state of panic. The fire sent up a huge plume of black smoke, stopping traffic, closing bridges, and shutting down BART stations.

The large-scale chemical fire still has local residents concerned for their health and safety. Many say they heard about the fire late, and that the multi-lingual phone system that is supposed to alert the diverse communities of Richmond in case of a disaster didn’t work. 

Courtesy of SETI

If you think back to the 1997 film Contact, you’ll recall a scene where Jodie Foster, playing alien-hunting astronomer Ellie Arroway, lies on her car hood with huge headphones on her ears, in a field of towering white satellite dishes. She’s waiting for something. A signal. She lies still, her eyes closed. And suddenly, she hears something, the sounds of something – someone  – beyond the earth, communicating with her.

The US dominates in many Olympic sports – track and field, swimming, basketball. But, one sport the US has never won a medal for is table tennis.

This year, the US team is hoping to change that. It’s going to be challenging. Only 4 players qualified to compete on the 2012 US Olympic Table Tennis team. Three of those four live and train right here in the Bay Area at an unlikely Olympic training ground – a converted warehouse that’s part of the Indian Community Center in Milpitas (ICC).

Street art has long been at the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District. With its colorful wall murals, it has been called the largest concentration of public painting in the world, embodying culture, passion, and activism. It would be quite a treat if you could see hundreds of the Mission's murals in one place – well, now you can.

The book Street Art San Francisco: Mission Muralismo features over 500 full color photographs, with 30 essays by icons in the San Francisco public art movement. KALW’s Hana Baba sat down with the editor of the book, artist Annice Jacoby.

While The Birds and Vertigo may be some of the more obvious classic films featuring the Bay Area, a new exhibit showing at the Old Mint building in San Francisco is exploring the obvious, the not so obvious, and the downright obscure. The exhibit is entitled "The Stuff that Dreams are made of: San Francisco and the Movies," and it shows scripts, collectibles, artwork and posters from films shot in San Francisco. One room is dedicated to movie posters from classic Noir films related to the City by the Bay.

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.

Salaam Dunk

Mar 27, 2012
Courtesy Seedwell Media

Women’s basketball got its start back in 1892 when the women of Smith College started their team, playing in floor-length dresses and corsets. Playing in a conservative society can be rough on women. And that brings us to our next story, which takes us on a trip, a long trip, to Northern Iraq.

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