KPFA Honors Nina Serrano, Avotcja, and Jennifer Stone

International Women’s Day, March 8, 2015

KPFA Honors Nina Serrano, Avotcja , and Jennifer Stone

KPFA Honors Nina Serrano, Avotcja , and Jennifer Stone. Photo by Paul Richards.

KPFA-94.1fm, Community-powered radio went all out for International Women’s Day 2015. The volunteer organizers, led by Vylma V., scheduled 24 hours of woman-produced radio programming but in their enthusiasm produced 25 hours of continuous woman-centered broadcasts. It was awesome, with music, interviews, lectures commentaries, comedies, poetry, and documentaries, including on-the-air autobiographical interviews with the 3 KPFA women elders who were being honored: Avotcja, Jennifer Stone and myself, Nina Serrano.

KPFA International Women’s Day (IWD 2015) celebrations also presented a live ceremonial event in the Performance Studio honoring the three long time program producers. Jeannine Etter and Lisa Dettmer organized the wonderful event. All three of us honorees are also writers, poets, and playwrights with decades-long histories at KPFA. The live ceremony, with Sisters of the Drum invoking the ancestors into the studio with a standing-room-only audience, moved me deeply. Women traditionally have been prevented from playing the drum, but these women, Sandy Mills, Mars Stevens, and Zakiya Zindagi, played skillfully calling upon the spirits of brave women from Harriet Tubman to Lolita Lebron to join us.

KPFA programmer Joy Moore hosted the honest and heartfelt event. The all-woman speakers reflected feminist thought and spirituality, making references to our individual history as women and as members of the KPFA community. When MC Joy declared that there are only two kinds of people: “Women and their children,” it was met with cheers and laughter. I am still smiling.

KPFA program director Laura Prives first interviewed Jennifer Stone on the air and remembered their earliest encounters that led to their both becoming involved in the station. Kate Raphael, co-producer of Women’s Magazine, interviewed Avotcja and myself on the air.

Long-time acclaimed talk show host Kris Welch introduced Jennifer Stone at the event. Jennifer reminded us that the ERA (Equal Rights Act) had never been voted on as an amendment to our constitution – so any reactionary government, and even a nice liberal one, could cut back the pro-woman gains at any time – as is currently happening around abortion, birth control and voting. Julieta Kusnir, one of my co-producers of La Raza Chronicles, introduced me, saying how much she learned from me. In my remarks, I said, how much I learn from her, as well as our other coproducers, Vanessa Bohm and Vylma V. With my baby great- grandson making noises in the background, I noted that we all need to keep KPFA growing so free speech radio airwaves will be there for him and his generation.

Vylma V. introduced Avotcja as a mentor and matriarch in the Puerto Rican Bay Area community. Avotcja told how her life-long love of music inspires her to bring the wide variety of musical genres to listening audiences. She continues her work on both KPFA-fm and KPOO-fm, both community stations.

I am so proud of KPFA women and our bold, outspoken, strong, liberation minded hearts, technological savvy and voices. Check out the video report on the event included in this blog post.

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About Nina Serrano

Nina is a well-known, international prize-winning inspirational author and poet. With a focus on Latino history and culture, she is also a playwright, filmmaker, KPFA talk show host, a former Alameda County Arts Commissioner, and a co-founder of the San Francisco Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Oakland Magazine’s “best local poet” in 2010, she is a former director of the San Francisco Poetry in the Schools program and the Bay Area’s Storytellers in the Schools program. A Latina activist for social justice, women’s rights, and the arts, Nina Serrano at 84 remains vitally engaged in inspiring change and exploring her abundant creativity. For more information go to or contact her publisher at For more detailed information about Nina see About Nina on her website.


KPFA Honors Nina Serrano, Avotcja, and Jennifer Stone — 2 Comments

  1. Nina,you gave an amazing speech. So proud of you. for that and all your other great achievements. Glad to have known you these 62 years.

  2. Nina,
    What a wonderful surprise! I was listening to you on Cover to Cover as you introduced your guests,young poets who shared their poetry with us on the air. La lucha continua, how much has changed and how much lies before us that needs to be changed. You are amazing! What a pleasant surprise when you announced your website. Thank you, thank you–informative and uplifting. Wow! I connected immediately.

    I enjoyed watching the wonderful KPFA tribute to you and to the women I listen to on KPFA–your programming, engaging always, keeps me connected to the pulse of our Latin community, I love Avotcja’s program because she uncovers the deep roots of our Latin / Black musical culture, and I love Jennifer Stone’s “Stone’s Throw”–her reviews, her commentaries, and her point of view always give me food for thought–her theme music, Bertold Brecht/Kurt Weil’s Mack the Knife (Die Moritat von Makie Messer)is a favorite of mine, and connects me to the aesthetics of engagement that I connect with– as an expression of the dispossessed, not “art for art’s sake,” but art as the handmaiden of revolution. Kudos to KPFA (to Kris Welch and Vylma V) for honoring three outstanding women in the arts and in the media.

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