Hear Here

Hear Here Community Engagement Specialist Anne Huang interviews Esther Goolsby at the 81st Avenue East Oakland Library.
Hear Here Community Engagement Specialist Anne Huang interviews Esther Goolsby at the 81st Avenue East Oakland Library.

Hear Here is KALW’s local community storytelling project. We seek out the stories of people who live and work in San Francisco and Oakland neighborhoods – and share what we hear on air and online!

Hear Here is currently recording stories in the Visitacion Valley, SF and East Oakland neighborhoods.

Take a listen to some of the stories we’ve collected below…

We've heard stories of immigration...

...and family...

...and work...

...and more.

Making Connections

Sometimes the stories we collect don't just stop at the radio.

How it Works

Hear Here partners with public libraries and community organizations to capture the often untold stories of the surrounding neighborhoods. We set up a date to show up at the library with our microphones and sit down for short, recorded conversations with participants. Every participant receives a CD copy of their interview. Some stories will air on KALW 91.7FM!

Want to share your story or partner with Hear Here to share the stories of your community?

Email hearhereradio@gmail.com or call (415) 264-7106.

Find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Soundcloud.

Under CC license from Flickr user Mr.TinDC

Caroyln Brandy started playing the conga drum in the late 1960s.

“It was something that women didn’t really do back in those days,” Brandy says. “You didn’t grow up and think, ‘I’m gonna be a conga drummer.’ I started just being really mesmerized by the conga.”

Jeannette King-Harris grew up in Oakland and says she’s tired of all the difficulties young people face there today. So, she’s launching an organization called Planting Special Seeds to change that. It’s a youth empowerment program that offers job training, educational advising, and emotional support to young people from around Oakland.

Music has played a big role in Tara Hagins' life, beginning when she was 14 and started going to rock concerts with her cousin Holly. 

Pete Villaseñor moved to San Francisco from his home state of Texas almost 20 years ago. That’s well before the Bay’s current housing troubles began. But, moving to a new place can come with other difficulties, like homesickness. Villaseñor told our community storytelling project Hear Here how he found solace in a new city.

Hear Here: Life lessons from Rutka Messinger

Apr 24, 2014

Rutka Messinger is a retired high school literature teacher living in San Francisco’s Richmond District. But, she wasn’t born here. She was actually born in a concentration camp in Siberia at the tail end of World War II. Both her parents survived the Holocaust. Soon after Messinger was born they fled the camp and began what she calls a long and complicated story. Her family ended up in Israel, where she lived until moving to the United States.

Here, Messinger says she sees beauty all around her – especially in her neighborhood. And she says if you look for good things, you’ll see them, too.

Hear Here: Viola Rusca's memories of San Francisco

Mar 24, 2014

Viola Rusca has been watching San Francisco evolve for over nine decades. She shared some of her childhood memories from growing up in Visitacion Valley with our Hear Here community storytelling project. 

"Well everything was dirt," Rusca remembers about the streets in her neighborhood. "Because I remember my father... the Italians liked to play bocce ball.  Because our street was dirt, his friends would come on Sunday and play bocce ball."

Click the audio player above to hear the story.

Audrey DIlling

Astor Lee shared her story with KALW's Hear Here project at the Visitacion Valley library branch. She told us about how the art of Tai Chi helped create a sense of community for recent immigrants to the neighborhood.

Hear Here: Meet DaJuan Simpson

Jan 21, 2014
Erica Mu

If you’ve visited your local library recently, you might have seen some kids listening to story time ... teenagers seated in front of  computers ... adults reading on couches ... somebody sleeping. Libraries aren’t just for quiet reading anymore.

“If we’re quiet, hush places with books only, we’re not relevant to this community,” says Oakland’s 81st Avenue Senior Library Assistant, Anthony Propernick. “I think we have to provide a safe place; we have to provide a place where people can come and hang out and exchange ideas and develop a sense of community.”

Audrey DIlling

Third-grader Kiana Sezawar is learning to care for plants at the Visitacion Valley Greenway community garden.

Eric Hannan was only supposed to work as the 81st Avenue Library's Teen Service Director for a few weeks. He ended up staying two years.

For about a year and a half now, KALW has been popping into the 81st Avenue East Oakland library to record the stories of the people who live and work in the neighborhood. Michael Lefall spoke with us about the importance of role models.

Hear Here: Meet Anthony Propernick

Nov 19, 2013
Audrey DIlling

For about a year and a half now, KALW has been popping into the 81st Avenue East Oakland library to record the stories of the people who live and work in the neighborhood. Today we meet the man who helps make the library a safe and valuable place for the community, Anthony Propernick.

Click the audio player above to listen to the story.

Erica Mu

Pamela Alston was raised in Emeryville along with her eight brothers and sisters. She noticed something particular about the place where she was growing up.

“In my neighborhood, it seems to me the most prevalent health problem was bad teeth. Missing teeth, rotten teeth. And I felt like if there was anything I could do help my community, it would be to treat their teeth,” Alston says.

Today's Local Music: Versatile

Aug 5, 2013

The song you can listen to above is being played by Solomon Munghia. Patrons of the 81st Avenue East Oakland library might occasionally hear Munghia practicing in one of the study rooms there. That’s where our community storytelling project, Hear Here, found him one day, getting ready to make some music with his friend Giovanni Gaines. Hear Here producer Audrey Dilling asked Munghia how he first learned to play guitar. 

Mariel Waloff

San Francisco is well known for its bread, especially its sourdough, which gets its flavor from a special kind of bacteria in the air here. Combine that with some yeast, flour, and water, let it rise and bake it and you’ll get a uniquely San Franciscan loaf. But it’s not that easy, as the subject of our next story can attest to. He’s been trying to master the art of sourdough since he got his first baking job in the city just over a year ago.

Hear Here: Ted Atkinson's courtroom decision

Jun 30, 2013

Ted Atkinson grew up in East Oakland – and while he watched his neighborhood decline throughout his lifetime, he also had his own run-ins with the law. He told the Hear Here community storytelling producers about a moment that set him on the right path.

Click the audio player above to listen to the story.

Find the Hear Here project on Facebook and follow it on Twitter at@hearhereradio.

Hear Here: Seeking a higher education

May 15, 2013

Esther Goolsby is from East Oakland, and she is one of the people Carl Rist’s program might have helped if it were around back in the 90s. She was living in East Oakland, and at age 16 was already a mom. She told our community storytelling project, Hear Here, about the path she took to a college degree. 

Laura Flynn

The phone is ringing and a constant stream of people are coming through the gated door. Sam Adato, a long-haired rocker and owner of the drum shop, buzzes them in from behind the counter.

The intimate shop is a maze of colorful stacks upon stacks of vintage drums. The walls are covered with posters – custom made by Adato – of drummers, rock and roll records, drum equipment and other trinkets he’s collected over the last 20 years from customers and friends. Everyone who comes through the door seems to know each other, it was a familiar place, a place for drummers.

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San Francisco resident Ileana Pulu is of Hawaiian, Mexican, and Portuguese descent; her husband is Samoan. So when they were married, they didn't just join families -- they joined dinner tables. Listen to this story from Season 1 of Hear Here.

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The spectacularly lit Mormon Temple in the Oakland Hills has been a fixture in the East Bay skyline for over almost fifty years. As part of our place profiles series, KALW's Isabel Angell decided to see what the temple looked like up close.

Hear Here: Unexpected treasure at the Alemany Flea Market

Jan 8, 2013

The Alemany Flea Market is a San Francisco institution.  Every Sunday, vendors of useless knickknacks and pricey treasures set-up their wares in the dirt lot along Alemany Boulevard under the 280 underpass. And then they wait for the right buyer to come along. As part of our place profile series, KALW’s Penina Eilberg-Schwartz headed to the market to ask people about what this long-running market means to them.

harveymilkphotocenter.org

What’s a place in your neighborhood that means something to you – and why? Our Hear Here community storytelling project wants to know the answer. Over the past few weeks, KALW News reporters have fanned out to places all over the Bay Area – parks, churches, markets, and other public places – to ask the people there why these spots are special. KALW’s Steven Short visit the Harvey Milk Photo Center in the Castro and brought back this story from Reynaldo Cayetano.

REYNALDO CAYETANO: My name is Reynaldo Cayetano and I’m a “Junior.” My mom tells me to tell people that.

Watch Hear Here’s animated short!

Jan 7, 2013
Alyssa Kapnik / www.alyssakapnik.com

On December 8, KALW’s community storytelling project Hear Here put on a live presentation of some of the great Bay Area stories it has gathered so far. The event was in partnership with the second annual edition of Live Crosscurrents at the Oakland Museum of California. (Listen to a broadcast version of that show here.)

Watch the animated version of this presentation here!

Erica Mu

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