THE PASSING OF GINA HOTTA
Very sad news...
Word comes down from the Bay Area that Gina Hotta died last night, apparently from a heart attack.
If you were involved in Asian American community issues in the Bay Area, it would be virtually impossible that you wouldn't have run into Gina at some point. I first met her as the host of the old radio show, "Inside/Eastside," one of the few Asian American-themed shows on public radio back in the day. (That show eventually evolved into APEX Express which is on KPFA in Berkeley; no doubt, they'll do something very special for her this week.)
She was easily the most consummate AA journalist I knew, constantly producing radio segments and writing for print. She was seemingly everywhere; I can't remember a community event I didn't see her at. I just got off the phone with Jeff Chang who was - shocked like I was - remarked about talking to Gina at the UC Berkeley walkout last week.
I'm not exaggerating when I say that GIna either formally or informally mentored an entire generation of AA journalists, myself included, who came of age in the Bay Area in the 1990s. The difference was that she probably outstripped us all in her passion and dedication; I can't really think of another figure that comes close. I was also always impressed how Gina came from an older generation of post-70s activists but had the open mind to stay current with new trends in culture and politics.
My heart hangs so heavy; this year alone has seen the untimely passings of Al Robles, Ron Takaki, and now Gina. I don't live up north any more but I can't imagine that the Bay isn't far emptier for their absences.