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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Gina Hotta

died suddenly last night, of a heart attack.

She was executive producer and host of the weekly APEX Express show on KPFA radio. The show was the voice of Asian America, getting APIA voices and issues out on the airwaves, week after week.

Each time I was a guest on APEX Express, I was impressed by Gina's razor intelligence, huge heart, and willingness to make space for issues that most people don't consider "Asian" - in my case, Kenyan and African politics. Here's my last interview with her, broadcast at the start of this year, where I discussed what Obama's election meant for Kenyans.

After the shows, I'd always suggest we head to my favourite Berkeley dosa house, Udupi Palace, just around the corner from KPFA. We'd talk politics, culture, media, for hours, over channa batura and idli sambar.

Gina was also a pioneering civil rights activist and passionate musical archivist. Adriel Luis captures her perfectly and poignantly: analog girl in a digital world.

And Claire Light over on Hyphen reminds us:

The Movement leaders are passing, Asian America. Let's remember to honor our elders before they leave us.

I wish I'd thought to tell Gina how much I respected and valued her decades of work to carve out media space for minorities. Her technical skill and journalistic excellence. Her unwavering commitment to community-building.

It's another wake-up call to me. Never bypass an opportunity to tell those whose shoulders I stand on what their work has meant for me. So they hear it while they're alive.

Go in joy and music, Gina. Your work will carry us all, and we will try to be worthy of the space you opened for us.


Anonymous Sottolin said...

I didn't Gina. Nor have i often listed to APEX Express. But hearing this, I am humbled.

10/17/2009 1:48 AM  

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