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Crosscurrents is the award-winning daily news magazine from KALW Public Radio. We make joyful, informative stories that engage people across the divides in our community - economic, social, and cultural.

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Today on Crosscurrents:

  • Reflecting back on the anniversary of the first women’s march
  • Hearing from you about what’s missing from the conversation around sexual harassment
  • A conversation with comedian Jesús U. BettaWork

Courtesy of Pui Ling Tam

This story originally aired in February of 2017

An estimated three million people worldwide took to the streets to participate in the Women’s March on January 21, 2017.


The Stoop podcast is hosted by KALW's Hana Baba and Leila Day. 

Courtesy Swann Auction Galleries via AP, distributed under a CC-BY 2.0 license

Since 2013, San Francisco’s Opera Parallèle partners with local schools to create and perform an original opera.

Liza Veale / KALW News

Many San Franciscans have the impression that homelessness has been growing in recent years. In 2016, residents called 311 to complain about encampments five times more than in the previous year.

What’s confusing is — the population of homeless people in San Francisco has actually stayed relatively flat.

Today on Crosscurrents: 

  • The population of people living on the streets has been the same for years. If the numbers aren’t changing — what is?
  • The world premiere of Harriet's Spirit, a stage show that introduces kids to Harriet Tubman through opera
  • An excerpt from the new podcast The Stoop

Courtesy of Dashka Slater, resized and recropped


Back in 2013, two high-school kids were riding an AC Transit bus when one of them set the other on fire. Eighteen-year-old Sasha Fleischman — who identifies as agender — leapt up, skirt in flames, but survived with the help of two passengers.

Angela Johnston / KALW News


In hundreds of communities across the state, the water coming out of the tap is still not drinkable. Many of these places are small, rural, and economically disadvantaged — the bulk of them are located in the Central Valley. But the Bay Area isn’t immune, and the solutions aren’t easy.

Today on Crosscurrents: 

  • The story of a small school in Pescadero where students haven’t been able to drink from the water fountains for years
  • Author Dashka Slater discusses her new book The 57 Bus, the story of a transgender Alameda County teen who was set on fire by a schoolmate

1/11: The legal limbo of the cannabis business

Jan 11, 2018

Today on Crosscurrents:

  • How federal policy is shutting legal marijuana businesses out of banks.
  • A lawsuit challenging Oakland’s ban on coal exports is headed for trial.
  • From the Kitchen Sisters, a story about the great egg wars of the Gold Rush.

Amber Miller


California is becoming the largest legal marijuana market in the nation. It’s estimated that the industry will bring in more than $1 billion in taxes every year.

Angela Johnston

A long legal battle over shipping coal out of the new Oakland export terminal is headed to trial.

Today on Crosscurrents:

  • What does the legalization of cannabis mean for our lungs?  
  • What California’s new cannabis law will mean for immigrants here in the Bay Area
  • A conversation with El Cerrito's first poet lauereate, Maw Shein Win

nyuhuhuu / Flickr / Creative Commons

Many messy discrepancies remain between state and federal law regarding cannabis use. For the estimated 5 millions immigrants living in California who are not U.S. citizens, the stakes are high — especially when it comes cannabis.

Our immigration reporter Ninna Gaensler-Debs tells us more about what Proposition 64 will mean for immigrants here in the Bay Area. 

Chuck Grimmett/Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Most of us don’t even think about the health effects of cannabis secondhand smoke — partly because there’s very little research being done on it.

Courtesy of Maw Shein Win


Maw Shein Win is El Cerrito’s first poet laureate, and it’s a job she’s more than ready for. She’s been writing, teaching, and organizing cultural events in the Bay Area for over 20 years.

Today on Crosscurrents:

  • Relief aid from the Northern California fires is harder to access for undocumented residents. So other people living in Sonoma County are stepping in.
  • Local novelist Shanthi Sekaran addresses questions of immigration and motherhood in her new book Lucky Boy.
  • A mother and daughter bond over their love of food in the StoryCorps booth.

Ninna Gaensler-Debs

After the destruction of the North Bay Fires, most Sonoma County residents could get financial assistance to help rebuild. But for the more than 40,000 undocumented immigrants living there, access to financial support has been limited.

Daniel Grisales, resized and recropped

Shanthi Sekaran is a Berkeley author whose new novel Lucky Boy zooms in on two immigrant families who live right here in the Bay Area. It tells the story of two very different women as they strive to achieve their version of the American Dream.


Maritza Hurtado Torres has been cooking for as long as she can remember.

Who wants to be mayor of San Francisco?

Jan 9, 2018
David Yu, cropped and resized with permission from CC Flickr

Eight candidates qualified Tuesday to run in San Francisco's mayoral race and the ballot could become even more crowded in a contest expected to pit the city's progressive values against its thirst for economic development following years of spectacular but divisive growth driven by the technology sector.

Stephen Worrell, cropped and resized with permission from Creative Commons Flickr

Our friends in the San Quentin Media center — where San Quentin Radio, Ear Hustle, and other programs are produced — shared with us some songs of the holidays recorded at San Quentin State Prison. We thought you might like to take a listen.

By Pixabay user typographyimages. Licensed under Creative Commons CC0/cropped.

Legal adult sales: “a multi-generational event” ... Where to buy legally in the East Bay ... Prices: up or down? ... “Weed Week” ... Norway considers total legalization ... and more.

Wikimedia Commons


Listener Mark Eastman from East Palo Alto contacted KALW’s collaborative reporting project, Hey Area. He wants to know, “What happens to cars that get donated to charitable organizations?”

Bay Area Beats: Eli Conley

Dec 21, 2017
Brooke Porter

Eli Conley is a roots singer/songwriter and the founder of Queer Country West Coast, a music series here in the Bay Area featuring queer folk and country artists.

12/21: Folk music for misfits

Dec 21, 2017

Today on Crosscurrents: 

  • What happens to cars that are donated to charities
  • A Bay Area Beats with singer/songwriter Eli Conley
  • What Christmas is like in San Quentin

Christmas in San Quentin: San Quentin Radio

Dec 21, 2017
Franco Folini / Wikimedia Commons

Holidays can bring about complicated feelings for many inmates. There's no work or school at that time, so the men are given leisure time to relax, maybe watch TV, and some receive visits from family on Christmas day. But for others it's a painful reminder that they’re not able to spend time with those they love most.

Reporter Louis A. Scott talked with several members of San Quentin Media to see how they celebrated or avoided Christmas.

Jenee Darden / KALW News

Starting a marijuana business is not so simple; there are a lot of rules and fees, especially if you are buying or selling the actual plant. But people are finding many different routes into the industry.

Lee Romney / KALW News


An unknown number of parents across the state are using medical cannabis to ease their children’s repeated seizures, treat the symptoms of autism or relieve the pain of cerebral palsy. But cannabis is not allowed on school grounds. One North Bay family is hoping to change that.


12/20: The price of selling cannabis

Dec 20, 2017

Today on Crosscurrents:

  • A North Bay mom pushes for her daughter’s right to access medical cannabis at school.
  • Entrepreneurs getting into the marijuana business are bringing money and new ideas to the table.