Journalist,  writer, musician and  community  leader Gina Hotta passed away of a heart  attack  early Sept. 28. She was 56.

Hotta was perhaps best known for her work as executive producer on the radio show Apex Express on Berkeley’s KPFA since 2001.  She won numerous  national  awards there, including  ones from the Asian American Journalist Association.

“In her role as executive producer  at Apex Express, Gina Hota gave to countless  Asian American issues,” said Kenji Taguma, president  of the Nichi Bei Foundation. “She was a true champion of human rights,  a true champion of the underdog.”

Hotta was attending a meeting Monday  to discuss the UC Berkeley protests when she suffered the heart attack. She was taken to a local hospital.

Tanya Smith, who knew Hotta for eight years through union activities, was at the meeting.

“Nobody knew she was sick. She was a fighter, very tough,” Smith said. “She was with people who cared about her. …I love her dearly.  She’s the most amazing person – passionate, intelligent.”

As a community  activist Hotta was involved with issues such  as organizing A-Bomb memorials and protesting the Nihonmachi  evictions. Her documentary work included pieces  on the Vietnam War. Her projects extended to producing performances, radio training and production as well as archiving endangered languages a for institutions such as UC Berkeley  andNAATA,

Hota also worked at the University of California,  archiving lost  She even found time to contribute pieces to the Nichi Bei Times.

“She will be sorely missed,” said Taguma, who appeared on Apex Express twice this past year. “Her loss leaves  an incredible void.”

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