Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rest in Power, Gina Hotta, Executive Producer, APEX Express on KPFA Radio

Eugina Haruko Hotta (Gina, or "G" of APEX Express)
June 15, 1953-September 29, 2009

This is a tribute to the 1 person responsible for securing a platform for the progressive voices of the minorities of Japan in the Bay Area - Gina Hotta, a fierce advocate for social justice and particularly the empowerment of the Asian & Pacific Islander voices through media and organizing. She produced APEX Express on KPFA in Berkeley for 20 years - and 10 of those years, she consistently went out of her way to ensure representation of zainichi & Okinawan voices, as well as the progressive Nikkei voices on her show that also played a key role in illuminating the vibrant API hip hop scene, and before, the Asian-American jazz explosion and the cultural dimensions of the Third World organizing struggles of which she was part.

It also surfaced, unfortunately only after Gina's passing, that she was a staff of Japan Pacific Resource Network (JPRN) and an integral member of the larger progressive JPRN community in Japan and the US. Located in Oakland, JPRN is a respected ally organization of Eclipse Rising since founding.

Eclipse Rising represented at the Memorial held to celebrate and honor the life of this amazing sister & comrade, Eugina Haruko Hotta in Oakland. Here are some quotes from the speakers that together convey the depth of her humanity and the depth of her commitment to social justice - it is no wonder that she was always there to make sure that groups like Eclipse Rising had a venue to inject our voices into our communities.

Some folks who spoke moving words in her memory and honor were:
Ann Hotta, Gina's sister
Penina Taesali
Jeff Chiang
Brenda Wong Aoki
Greg Morizumi, member of the Eastside Arts Alliance and Eclipse Rising ally "Papa G"
...and many more, but here are listed (in order of appearance) those whose excerpts are quoted below.

"Gina was very proud of her blue-collar experiences"

"She wanted us to envision a better world, grounded in the past - the past was very important to her... she was very proud of her Japanese-American heritage, but at the same time, openly critical of Japanese imperialism. She was a staunch internationalist, and she identified with the Third World communities"

"She was the alchemist of all social movements..."

"...a builder of bridges, alchemist of light"

"1 thing about Gina is, when she got your back, she REALLY got your back, period. NOT just about an issue, but por vida she was with you all the way. How many people can you really say that about anybody, really?"

"It is said that she is the single most responsible person for the creation of a generation of API media warriors today"

Eclipse Rising is honored for the opportunity build upon the platform to speak out to the Bay Area community that she was instrumental in securing for us. We will always carry your legacy in our hearts... Travel well, sister Gina.

Deepest condolences to the Hotta family and we together mourn a loss of a dear spirit in our community. Thanks to every one with their time, energy, artistic talents, food, and other skills that put together a truly touching Memorial Service.

--Eclipse Rising

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