Monday, November 23, 2009

Remembering Andrea Lewis

Today on Women's Magazine, we aired a tribute to our sister and colleague, Andrea Lewis.

Included was an extraordinary interview with Andrea by Women's Mag producer, Lisa Dettmer, in which Andrea reflects on how she came to feminism, her perspective on lesbian feminism, and admits that her favorite album in her youth was Carole King's Tapestry. (And those of you who are old enough will know that means you'll be hearing "You've Got a Friend" and "Natural Woman.")

Also clips from some of Andrea's interviews and shows, and reflections from coworkers and friends.

Download or Listen
Wome's Magazine - Andrea Lewis: Feminist Extraordinaire. - November 23, 2009 at 1:00pm

Click to listen (or download)

Letter to Andrea from Women's Magazine's Preeti Shekar:

Dear Andrea

I am so shocked you are no more. Many of us will feel shocked for a long time. How can we not? We lost in you a precious and amazing person. A voice meant for radio. A voice that energized, educated and enlightened so many of us.

I met you in 2006 when I was a news journalist and activist learning the ropes of radio production. I started listening to the morning show and like so many of your listeners, your voice, your energy, and radiance endeared me to the show. I tuned into the morning show regularly. When you left for the Stanford fellowship, like a lot of your regular listeners, I sorely missed your voice on KPFA. A year later when you returned to take charge of Sunday sedition, I began listening to it – once again more for you and very soon, it was also because of all the terrific guests and issues you brought to the show.

Dear Andrea I am sad that we never had lunch like we kept planning to. I remember when I pitched show ideas on South Asian issues that I work on, you used to write back saying, I think you should do it for the Sunday show, and I am glad to help you work on it. Thank you for being such a generous soul. I regret I didn’t get to work with you and learn from you more directly.

Your signature laughter, your gentle but firm style of dealing with an annoying guest – all of it was just so you. I loved how you enabled good discussions on radio, and how you broke down complex issues so well. As a younger woman of color delving into radio, I listened to you – literally! I loved how you wove in your left politics strategically, like a clever chess move, not the clich├ęd angry black woman calling out racism that maybe necessary and feels so right but sometimes just shuts down conversations and doesn’t let us on the progressive left build allies across differences.

You wore your politics with such impeccable style, broke stereotypes of how one could talk about issues of race, class, gender and sexuality and my most important lesson that I will always remember you for: humor. Listening to you on air was a reminder to those of us on the left to stop taking ourselves so seriously. Your booming laughter, be it on airwaves or across the KPFA hallways, was a nudge to us serious lefties that change can be done with laughter mixed with some love.

Like so many people, I am grateful to have known you. You are indeed a ray of sunshine lent to us too briefly. But we sure are glad we had the sun of your laughter ringing through our ears for years.



A memorial for andrea will be held Tuesday evening, November 24 from 6:00-9:00 p.m., at the First Unitarian Church in Oakland, 685 14th St.

1 comment:

  1. Though I don't know Andrea but your memory of her spoke of an incredible woman. Rest in Peace Andrea.