Monday, May 23, 2016

Are Americans Giving Up (on) their democracy?

Are Americans Giving Up (on) their democracy?
By Valerie A. Ibarra

In the last half of the 19th Century, voter turnout in Presidential elections ranged from 69.9-81.8%. The highest year of the 20th Century was its first year, 1900, which saw 72%, but thereafter ranged from 49.2-65.4%. In the 21st Century, that percentage has ranged from 50.3-57.1%. Though a number of factors can affect voter turnout - war, conviction or imprisonment, and other forms disenfranchisement - we must look at what we have and ask ourselves: Are Americans giving up (on) democracy?

When Bernie Sanders calls for a political revolution, he’s asking for people to get involved in their communities, states and nation at large. He’s asking for people to exercise their rights to free speech, to peaceful assembly, and to vote. With a growing 21st Century population and a seemingly low interest in participating in general elections for the highest office in the land, maybe it’s not really a revolutionary idea to actually use the tools – the rights – we have. After all, isn’t democracy the “freedom” that all this fighting has supposedly been for?

Many people casually or indignantly say that voting doesn’t matter because it doesn’t have any effect, or that the whole system is rigged. Yet it is troubling to look at this voter turnout trend and not try to imagine what a larger number of representative voices could look like… and how the establishment might take the population more seriously when taking corporate contributions so handily and making policy accordingly.

Take a look at what happened during Democracy Spring in April 2016. People marched from Philadelphia to Washington D.C. for a week of protests and peaceful sit-ins outside the Capitol. Their message to Congress was, “The American people will no longer accept the status quo of big money corruption and voter suppression.” Fourteen-hundred non-violent protesters were arrested outside the Capitol (check out Lady Liberty in handcuffs!), but it also prompted nearly 100 representatives to call for hearings on voting rights & campaign reform legislation.

Elected representatives inside may be seeing the wolves at the gate, even if the mainstream media largely ignores them. Yet protesters are not savage beasts, but concerned human beings whose livelihoods are affected by the decisions made at a national level; whether it’s subsidizing the Wall Street banks and their insurers (and rewarding them with tax loopholes) instead of bailing out homeowners, or pouring $1.5 trillion dollars into building the F35 fighter jet (which hasn’t proved itself to be anything but a persistent lemon) instead of investing in education, infrastructure, clean energy and the jobs thereby afforded.

If it’s not feasible or desirable to take a week off to cross the country for sit-ins at the Capitol, or for marches during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 25-28, don’t feel left out of the process. You can be like the over 1.5 million newly registered voters in California, and vote.


Californians 18 and over can register to vote online:

To vote in the CA Presidential Primary on June 7th - register by May 23rd.
To vote in the General Election on November 8th - register by October 24th.

NOTE: This is an introductory op-ed that I plan to expand upon, and I've rushed to get it out by May 23rd. Any suggestions as to where I should submit it, please leave a message below or on my Facebook page > Women's Magazine with Global Val

Valerie A. Ibarra holds a BA in Political Science & International Relations from the University of California Santa Barbara, and is currently: a Radio Host/Producer for KPFA 94.1FM and, and an English teacher & administrator at an international language school in San Francisco.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Springing Into Action!

Such abundance!

Spring of 2016 is proving to be bustling with poetry and civic engagement.

I kicked off the season at the Beat Museum, featuring in an all-women's poetry showcase "Women of a Different Beat" for International Women's Day. Thanks to Justice Morrighan of North Beach Press for curating that riveting event!

Furthermore, I'm honored to be returning to my high school Alma Mater, St. Ignatius College Preparatory, to speak with the students who have designed Writing Week. Coming full circle to share my love of poetry and see what these young writers are up to!

Here are some FREE EVENTS in San Francisco where I'll be popping up in April & May:

Saturday, April 23rd/ 11am-6pm

Pleased to be the MC for Cesar Chavez Day & Earth Day SF ~ two festivals for the greater good of people, food, and planet. Participants of BOTH fests are marching from Dolores Park at 11am to the Cesar Chavez Celebration, where I'll be presenting the Speakers starting at 12:15pm. Later, I'll be on the Main Stage at Earth Day 1:40-2:15pm.

Ceasar Chavez Day - Sowing the Seeds of Change (24th & Treat)

Earth Day SF (22nd & Mission/Valencia @ Main Stage afternoon)

Thursday, April 28th / 5:30-8pm sharp!

Join us inside beautiful San Francisco City Hall for the 11th Annual Poems Under the Dome, a free, all-ages event welcoming everyone to celebrate National Poetry Month at the Mother of All Open Mics! Put your name in the hat for a chance to read a poem (original or an old favorite) or simply enjoy the show.

Reading will begin at 5:30 in the North Light Court, but don't miss the opening ceremony under the Rotunda!

*We are very close to meeting our fundraising goals. If you'd like to help sponsor this year's event, please contact me privately by email: We'll be happy to thank you on our website:

EVERY Thursday in May/ 7:30pm

Featured on BAVC Poetry TV - Comcast Channel 29 or U-Verse 99. My first foray into TV. Tune in!

Saturday, May 7th/ 7:00-9:30pm

Co-Featuring with Eileen Malone at La Promenade Cafe (3643 Balboa @ 38th Ave. SF) & hopefully bringing some live music into the mix.

EVERY FRIDAY on / Live & Podcast

Women's Magazine with Global Val (2-3pm)

Common Thread Collective open mic with Diamond Dave (3-5:45pm)


Grateful for the abundance & for your continued support! I'll check in again soon as Summer is just around the corner, and to every season...turn turn turn...there will be a reason to share more :)


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Global Val hosts the 1st SF Mayoral Forum 2015 on Mutiny Radio

Mutiny Radio has been at the forefront of local media talking to three of the candidates for Mayor of San Francisco. Amy Farah Weiss, Francisco Herrera, and "Broke Ass" Stuart Schuffman - all of whom decided to run independently to disrupt pay-to-play politics and try to set SF on track for a better future amidst a housing & cultural crisis - decided to form a people-powered coalition to use ranked choice voting to replace the incumbent, Ed Lee. Francisco Herrera affirms this is not a "symbolic" action, but rather a determination to bring the people and the wisdom of the neighborhoods into City Hall.

We hosted the "1-2-3 to Replace Ed Lee" coalition at Mutiny Radio on September 18th 2015.

Listen/Download the two shows at > Podcasts > Fridays:
- Candidates in conversation: The Weekly Review with Roman & Molly: 1-2pm on 9/18
- SF Mayoral Candidate Forum: Women's Magazine with Global Val: 2-3pm on 9/18

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Global Val hosts the #1 & #5 shows at MutinyRadio.FM!

What a year!

With a tingling ambition to put on a show or two EVERY Friday at Mutiny Radio in the Mission District of San Francisco, 2015 has proven to be a year of exponential growth in our worldwide audience.

I'm proud to announce that "Women's Magazine with Global Val" - Fridays 2-3pm on - was the #5 show at Mutiny Radio in June 2015. With over 3,000 downloads in that month, I am humbled to know that so many people are out there listening and hungry for unique content that is otherwise lost on mainstream channels.

Speaking of unique content, "The Common Thread Collective" with Global Val & Diamond Dave - our weekly community open door, open minds, open hearts, open mic - Fridays 3-6pm - has been reaching FAR & WIDE; and with 22,237 downloads in the month of June alone!, it has risen to become THEE #1 SHOW AT MUTINY RADIO!!!

I always post the content from the previous week's shows/podcasts on our Facebook pages, and it truly has been an inspiring season of music, poetry, activism and community.
Women's Magazine with Global Val
The Common Thread Collective

Thank you for listening and please know that Mutiny Radio is here for you :) Join us LIVE and feel free to send people our way as we pride ourselves on providing an online radio presence for free speech and free expression.

"Cast a wide net. Find the common thread. Let life flourish. Don't panic. Just keep it organic." - D.D.

Global Val

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Common Thread Collective gets a great write-up on Rock the Pigeon

Check out this great article by Rock the Pigeon really captures the feel of what our show, The Common Thread Collective, on Mutiny Radio, Fridays 3-6pm on

Reprinted here:


October 22, 2014 · by rockthepigeon· in Acoustic Music, Anti-Folk, Blues, DIY, Folk, Folk Punk, Indie Rock, Jams, Open Mic, Radio Station, Rock, Singer-Songwriter. ·

Mutiny Radio is a DIY-style radio station based in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission district. Mutiny Radio opens its doors to many different types of events; concerts, poetry readings, comedy shows, and even pumpkin carving contests.

Today, we want to bring your attention to one very special show, The Common Thread Collective hosted by San Francisco’s beloved poet and activist Diamond Dave and Women’s Magazine’s Global Val! This wonderful and spontaneous show takes place every single Friday afternoon from 3PM-6PM. It is run open-mic style but there is no sign-up sheet! Show up with your guitar, your readings, your poems, and be ready to go! Diamond Dave directs the show as he goes. He crafts the line-up throughout the show as he sees fit and it always ends up to be perfect. “Another amazing show!”

Songwriters may play one song and then Dave may ask you to play a second, a third, or maybe even a fourth if you are truly talented and if time permits. Poets recite their poetry, sometimes improvising pianists. Global Val and Diamond Dave often read poetry on the show. People read from their published or unpublished novels. There are call-in guests. There are activists talking about how to make social change. There are many people calling for revolution through their work and words. Guests are often interviewed, sometimes spontaneously. If you perform, you may be asked to do an interview only seconds later.

The last 30 minutes of the show usually erupt the radio airwaves with an open jam session. Everyone that was part of the show bangs their drums, noodles on their guitars, and sings lyrics written on the spot. It is often very folky or bluesy. It’s a very exciting event that revolves around community and togetherness. The happy vibe that the Common Thread Collective emits will linger for the rest of your Friday. Come on down and be found.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Radio Reflections with Global Val : Two Years with KPFA 94.1

I was reflecting the other day about the way my creative dedication to showing up at Mutiny Radio every Friday since the end of 2010 (to engineer & co-host for The Common Thread Collective with Diamond Dave, Fridays 3-6pm), has blossomed into a vast body of work that continues to evolve...change shades, shapes, and colors. It's been a shifting of awareness, as subtle yet as striking as the changing light of a day. Those long drawn out days, have turned into seasons, and so I've found myself at another coordinate of the turning:

I'm celebrating an anniversary - It was two years ago that I was recruited to become a contributing Producer to Women's Magazine on KPFA 94.1 Pacifica Network. Since then, I've independently produced, hosted & edited a dozen shows for KPFA 94.1 (11 have aired so far, but #12 will air at a date TBA), by interviewing guests on my weekly Women's Magazine show at Mutiny Radio (Fridays 2-3pm) and teaching myself how to edit audio.

My goal from the outset has been to interview women who are changing the world and highlighting issues that affect us all. Although many of the topics are deeply serious, I always try to unveil some light in the darkness..."Because remember, just when your aspirations seem outrageous, that inspiration is contagious."

With every project, I learn and I get better at editing and crafting the story. Looking back on what I've produced makes me proud and makes me realize how far I've come, but also inspires & motivates me to do and learn more.

All of these shows can be found on Search the Archives by date and Women's Magazine:

SEPTEMBER 22, 2014
Magnificent Matriarchy - March for Elephants
Guests: Rosemary Alles & Tamara Birdsall

JULY 14, 2014
Voice of Witness
Guests: Mimi Lok, Executive Director of Voice of Witness, Winner of the Smithsonian Ingenuity Award for Social Progress 2013, and Audrey Petty, editor/compiler of High Rise Stories: Voices from Chicago Public Housing

NOVEMBER 18, 2013
Women's Poetry Showcase #2 - Poetry as an Agent of Change
Guests/Poets: Alicia Zakon & Alexandria Rain Smith
Featuring music by The Nectarian Collective from the Big Island of Hawaii

AUGUST 5, 2013
Human Egg Harvesting & California AB 926*
Guests: Jennifer Lahl (Executive Producer/Director of the Award Winning documentary Eggsploitation: The Fertility Industry has a Dirty Little Secret), Dr. Diane Tober, PhD, (Assoc. Executive Director of the Center for Genetics and Society), Mona Lisa Wallace, Esq.
*Note: AB 926 was later vetoed by Gov. Brown

JUNE 3, 2013
Women's Poetry Showcase #1
Guests/Poets: Jennifer Barrone (The Word Party), EK Keith (Poems Under the Dome & Mission High School), Mama Coatl, Ava Bird, Kimberly Escamilla (International Poetry Library)
Featuring music from: Clara Bellino & Nova Jazz

MARCH 18, 2013
Aging Women, Housing Rights & Domestic Violence
Guests: Rose Aguilar (Host of Your Call on KAWL 91.7fm) & Lindsay Sweetnam (La Casa de Las Madres)
Based on an article by Rose Aguilar "Old, Female and Homeless", which appeared in The Nation on February 13, 2013

FEBRUARY 1, 2013
Break the Chain - 40 Years After Roe v. Wade
Guests: Rose Aguilar (Host of Your Call on KALW 91.7) & Mona Lisa Wallace, Esq. (Green Feminist)
Featuring the song/international One Billion Rising flash mob: "Break the Chain" by Tena Clark, choreographed by Debbie Allen

JANUARY 7, 2013
Code Pink Delegates Report back from Pakistan: CIA's Drone War
Guests: Medea Benjamin, founder of Code Pink & Global Exchange; Toby Blome and Dr. Diane Budd, Delegates

DECEMBER 3, 2012
Shedding Light on an Invisible War - Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma (MST)
Guests: Katie Weber (Protect Our Defenders) and Latonia Dixon(Veterans for Peace)

Election (of) Eve
Guests: Patty Bellasalma and Stacy Malkin, (CA NOW); Christina Lopez (Vice Presidential Candidate for the Freedom-Socialist Party), Janet Wiel (Code Pink)
Co-Producer: Molly Hankowicz

OCTOBER 29, 2012
Creating a U.S. Department of Peace
Guests: Nancy Merritt and Nancy Kivette (The Peace Alliance) and Monique Graves, Founder of Lauren's House for Positive Change in East Palo Alto

Thank you for your ongoing support!

Peace and Thank you,
Global Val

Monday, September 15, 2014

March for Elephants & Rhinos - before it's too late! - KPFA 94.1 Women's Magazine - September 22, 2014, 1-2pm

Join me on Monday, September 22, 2014, 1-2pm on Women's Magazine, KPFA 94.1 &

The African elephant is scheduled to be extinct within the next ten years.

...a matriarchal society, carrying ancient knowledge
...a keystone species, supporting entire ecosystems, and help mitigate climate change!
...being ILLEGALLY poached for ivory trinkets, that are still LEGALLY manufactured in China and SOLD IN CALIFORNIA
...funding terrorist groups throughout Africa

Join me on Monday, September 22, 2014, 1-2pm on Women's Magazine, KPFA 94.1 &

March for Elephants & Rhinos - before it's too late!

October 4th is World Animal Day, and in 85 cities around the world - including San Francisco - groups will be participating in the March for Elephants and Rhinos. Why? Because poaching illegal ivory and legal ivory manufacturing have put African elephants in danger of extinction within a decade! Join Global Val Ibarra of as she talks to some of the prime organizers of the March for Elephants, Rosemary Alles and Tamara Birdsall, who tell us the story of the Elephant, and why we need to & how we can save this keystone species and magnificent matriarchy. and

Sign the petition to Governor Brown and other representatives.
Join the March on October 4th: 10:30am St. Mary's Square/ China Town > ending in UN Plaza / Civic Center

Monday, September 22, 2014, 1-2pm on Women's Magazine, KPFA 94.1 &

There are several ways to listen LIVE:
KPFA 94.1 &
KPFB 89.3 FM
Comcast Digital Cable 967
iPhone: Public Radio App
Android: TuneIn Radio App
WebOS: Public Radio App

Archive/Podcast will be available on (search by the date and show) and at

Peace and Thank you!
Global Val