Bay Area Latino media activist and photographer Daniel del Solar died in Oakland, Jan. 13, after a long battle with metastatic prostate cancer. He was 71.
Del Solar was also a respected documentarian, videographer and poet.

He was born in Chile but grew up in Mexico, New York, Mill Valley and Santa Monica.

After graduating from Santa Monica High, del Solar attended Harvard University and then he went on to a varied career in public media. In the early 1970s he joined the KPFA-FM Comunicación Aztlán programming collective and by the mid-1970s he became the National Director of Training and Development at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in Washington D.C.

Photo courtesy of Nina Serrano

He also worked with KQED-TV’s “Open Studio,” served as General Manager of KALW-FM, in San Francisco from 1985–1992 and as General Manager of WYBE-TV Philadelphia from 1992–1995.

Del Solar often reported on events in Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua and Venezuela and he was active in many Latin American social justice and solidarity movements.

He was on the national board of Citizens for Independent Public Broadcasting and served as Development Director of the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts.

At one time, he co-produced a weekly KPFA radio magazine, “Reflecciónes de la Raza,” and contributed to the current KPFA weekly program “La Raza Chronicles.”

“Daniel was a vocal advocate for public broadcasting and was saddened by the increased commercialization of public media,” said long-time friend Jesús Manuel Mena Garza.

Along with other Bay Area poets, del Solar was a founding co-editor of “Tin-Tan,” a now legendary San Francisco Chicano/Latino cultural magazine.

He contributed to El Tecolote Literario and co-produced “Chile: Promise of Freedom,” an audio CD distributed on worldwide radio by the Freedom Archives.
“No doubt Daniel will be sorely missed,” said Founder/Editor Juan Gonzales. “His presence at El Tecolote events and his big smile would always warm up a room. We could always count on his kind words and deeds of support.”

Compañero Daniel del Solar, ¡Presente!


Long-time KPFA Radio volunteer-producer Yvette Hochberg died, Jan. 8, of lung cancer and metastatic brain cancer. She was 63.

Hochberg was a dedicated KPFA producer, most notably for the Women’s Magazine program heard Mondays at 1 p.m.

An advocate for justice in the Congo, Hochberg was a founding member of Bay Area Friends of the Congo. She was very active in issues affecting women and girls throughout the world, whether in Palestine, Egypt or Africa.

She supported young musicians, filmmakers and poets through groups such as Encuentro del Canto Popular and the Asian American Women Artists Association.

“Yvette was such a giving person,” said Juan Gonzales, co-founder of Encuentro, a yearly Mission District festival of Latin American folk music. “You could always count on her to work tirelessly to help us produce a successful festival. She had tremendous energy and commitment. She will be greatly missed.”
Compañera Yvette Hochberg, ¡Presente!



By Bill Shields

San Francisco lost a beloved and respected social justice advocate this month, when long-time labor leader Walter Johnson died at the age of 87.
Born and raised on the wind-swept prairies of North Dakota, Johnson served in the military during World War II. After the war, he moved west and settled in “the city by the bay.”

Johnson started a family and a career in downtown retail, and soon became involved in his union, Retail Clerks Local 1100. Selling appliances by day, Johnson attended union meetings at night. As part of the strong labor tradition in the city, Johnson and his fellow workers agitated for, and won, good wages and working conditions for retail workers.

Recognized for his dedication, his effective leadership and his great sense of humor, Johnson steadily rose through the ranks to become the president of his large and influential union. If that were all he had accomplished, his legacy would have been an honorable one. But, Johnson did more, much more.

Photo Courtesy of Bill Shields

The 1950s and ‘60s were turbulent times in San Francisco; waves of civil rights, labor and community activists fought to win fair treatment for all residents. Above all, this meant winning access to good jobs.

Johnson helped bring the city’s unions on board with the civil rights agenda at a time when it was still controversial. He hired the first African-American staff person for his union. He helped Latinos, African-Americans and Asians get jobs in downtown department stores from which they had been excluded.

He built effective coalitions with other unions and with community groups. He sponsored educational forums that empowered workers with the knowledge they needed to build strong unions, and he supported labor arts and culture.

He also supported Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta with their organizing in the fields. He made a home for LGBT workers in the house of labor in a new and open way. These were exemplary positions for his time and place.

In recognition of this leadership, Johnson’s union colleagues elected him to head the San Francisco Labor Council, a position he held for almost two decades. In that position, he brought his broad vision of unionism to bear on the whole city.

He strongly supported the advocacy group, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, as long-time LCLAA leader Frank Martin Del Campo attests.
Noted labor and community musician, Francisco Herrera, said Johnson’s thinking was ahead of his time.

“He was able to see beyond race and class and focus on the core, that we are all working people … you build something, you deserve the fruits of your labor,” Herrera said. “He played a big role within the union structure. For example, the Day Labor Program had his support for organizing. He saw the importance of culture to move the power of working people, to improve the quality of life.”

Johnson’s legacy is an important one, given today’s anti-worker and anti-immigrant attacks. Only effective unity in favor of all workers will enable us to win just immigration reform, stop wage-theft in our restaurants, further organize the state’s farmworkers and win labor protections for domestic workers.

The task of building this unity is not easy, but it is possible. Walter Johnson understood that. May we live up to the example he set.
¡Walter Johnson, Presente!

Bill shields is Chair of the Labor and Community Studies department at City College of San Francisco.