Anita Rao

Managing Editor, "The State of Things"/ Host, "Embodied" Series

Anita Rao is the Managing Editor and regular host for The State of Things, WUNC's daily, live talk show that features the issues, personalities and places of North Carolina. She hosts the recurring series "Embodied: Conversations about Sex, Relationships & Your Health."

She fell in love with interviewing and storytelling as a Women's Studies and International Studies major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and began her radio career at WUNC as an intern for the nationally distributed public radio program The Story. From 2011 - 2014, she worked for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps Production department, where she pitched, edited and produced conversations from across the nation--from Chicago, IL to Pineville, North Carolina.  

Anita was born in a small coal-mining town in Northeast England but spent most of her life growing up in Iowa and has a fond affection for the Midwest. In her spare time she also co-hosts and produces a podcast and radio show about millennial feminism called "She and Her."

Ways to Connect

Portrait of Cameron Dezen Hammon
Courtesy Cameron Dezen Hammon

From the time she was young, musician and writer Cameron Dezen Hammon craved a spiritual connection with the world around her.

The transgender rights flag with a healthcare emblem.
GLAAD

Stigma, confusion and outright discrimination shape the health care experiences of many transgender and gender non-conforming people. In a national survey of transgender people in the U.S., 29% said health care providers had refused to see them because of their actual or perceived gender identity. 

On this edition of the Embodied series, host Anita Rao learns about the ways gender-affirming doctor’s visits, home life and classrooms can improve health outcomes for transgender and gender-nonconforming people. 

Two groups of protesters facing off in a street, with police officers standing in the middle. Protesters with confederate flags stand on the right.
Jason deBruyn/WUNC

Protests continue in Graham over the town’s Confederate statue and the local history of racist policing. Over the weekend, the Alamance County seat hosted hundreds of protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement and local social justice organizations. They were met by law enforcement and more than 50 counter-protesters with ties to ReOpen networks and white supremacist organizations.

Woman sits in the shower shaving her legs
Credit: Betsssssy//Flickr//CC

Women’s war with body hair has claimed many casualties since hair removal and femininity became linked in the late 1800s. 

Women's Theatre Festival

Theater is constantly moving between mediums. From radio plays to vaudeville’s transformation into televised variety shows, actors and technicians now find their stage to be TikTok and Twitch. 

HBO Max

Has cancel culture gone too far? That question has echoed throughout American society for several months. 

Sign on college campus reading 'International Student Programs' with an arrow pointing to the left. Street with cars in the background.
Bellevue College//Flickr//CC

U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement has issued a new temporary rule banning international students from returning to or remaining in the United States if their colleges move to online-only instruction this fall.

Tahir Siddeeq

If a drug proven to reduce coronavirus transmission by 50% to 85% existed, would you take it? Masks offer that kind of protection for public health, and yet people still go out in public without them. Why is that?

Lyndsey Gilpin

Dominion Energy and Duke Energy announced the cancellation of the controversial 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline Sunday. 

Dorrance dancing.
Courtesy of Michelle Dorrance

Between the COVID-19 pandemic and this summer’s social protest movement, 2020 has been challenging for the live performer. Michelle Dorrance is a world-renowned tap dancer who is using this time of cancellations and remote performances to contemplate new ways to use her art to incite and inspire. 

Illustration of a calculator and exam answers sheet.
WikiHow Images

School board meetings are buzzing with suggestions of segmented days, converted spaces, private-public partnerships and other ideas for a managed reopening of public schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A masked woman looks out her window.
Victoria Bouloubasis for Enlace Latino NC/Southerly

North Carolina’s COVID-19 cases continue to climb, and the state’s Black and Latino populations are being hit the hardest. Black citizens comprise about 22% of the state’s population, but they account for a third of deaths. And nearly half of the people who have tested positive identify as Hispanic, even though the group makes up less than 10% of the state’s population. 

Headshot of Knapp.
Nora Knapp

Nora Knapp turns her dreams into song lyrics. Three-year-old voice memos on her phone become foundations for melodies and song titles. These chance inspirations are the building blocks of Knapp’s new album “Contradox.” 

NC Department of Commerce

In 2013, North Carolina’s legislature voted to cut unemployment benefits, shortening the number of eligibility weeks and capping the amount of funds workers could draw. 

A laundry basket sits on a coffee table.
Sean Freese/Creative Commons

For months, families have been quarantining together during the coronavirus crisis. The pandemic has forced parents and partners to rethink everything, from division of household chores and childcare duties to work-from-home needs and whether or not a job that cannot be performed remotely is even worth keeping, if childcare is unavailable or unaffordable. 

Ida B Wells candle
Courtesy of Black Bright Candles

When Tiffany M. Griffin began dating her husband, Dariel, in 2014, they discovered a shared love of candles. They began researching how to make their own and soon, a passion project was born. 

Sign reads: "Atlantic Coast Pipeline No Trespassing"
Lyndsey Gilpin

A U.S. Supreme Court decision last week allows the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to travel under a section of the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. 

Gragg stands in front of a pink quilt top with yellow and blue squares. She is wearing a large necklace, drop earrings and a blue shirt. Her coily hair has streaks of blue.
Dare Kumolo-Johnson

Mavis Gragg never thought her work would “take her to the trees,” but that is where she has found herself. 

The North Carolina House of Representatives' meeting room
North Carolina General Assembly

Cities around the country are facing pressure to reform their policing and take a hard look at systemic racism. Minneapolis announced the intent to defund portions of their police department. Other cities have ended relationships between school systems and the police. 

Creative Commons 2.0

 

 

Nationwide protests against the police killing of George Floyd are still underway, and they have reignited discourse around race and racism. These conversations can be particularly challenging for friends, partners, and colleagues of different races.

Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via AP, Pool

Perhaps you are grateful for the lack of election news. While coverage of presidential primary contenders started back in 2018, former Vice President Joe Biden has all but disappeared from the news. 

Courtesy of Blair Publishing

Twenty-five years ago, renowned poet Lenard D. Moore invited a group of his peers into his basement for a session of writing critique. That monthly gathering evolved into the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective, which has supported over 60 writers across a variety of styles through their careers. 

Deuel News Co./UNC Libraries Commons

Coming of age in a decaying milltown is a common American recipe for brain drain. While growing up in Canton, Zeb Smathers anxiously watched his community struggle with the fallout from globalization. 

Workers cutting meat
U.S. Government Accountability Office

Meat processing facilities in North Carolina have seen coronavirus outbreaks among their workers, disrupting supply chains and causing concerns about meat shortages. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services told a North Carolina news collaborative on Tuesday that there are 2,146 cases in 28 outbreaks at meat processing facilities. 

A pregnant woman holds a yellow face mask over her midsection.
Marco Verch/Creative Commons

Pregnancy and postpartum experiences can already be rife with anxiety. But since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, expectant and new mothers’ anxieties have heightened exponentially. 

Brooke Bust-Webber/WUNC

Summer for many families in North Carolina is filled with beach weekends, getaways to the mountains, bountiful produce and other fun in the sun. But how much of that will be possible this season with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic?


Rudell leans against a white wall while holding a mug.
Yuri Vaysgant Photography

As a holiday weekend typically celebrated with travel and social gatherings approaches, Governor Roy Cooper announced the state’s plans for proceeding with Phase Two of reopening. 

Courtesy of Crystal Moore

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, people with substance use disorders and those in recovery find themselves at risk for relapses and overdoses. Feelings of isolation, fear and anxiety act as triggers for substance use and mental health issues. 

One person films two people kissing. The two people kissing are leaning onto a bed.
Courtesy of Pink and White Productions

How comfortable are you talking about porn and erotica? Does it make you embarrassed? Ashamed? If you knew more about how porn is made, and how to navigate your own exploration of pleasure, would you still blush at the mention of it?
 

When this year’s seniors started their final year of high school, they could not have imagined that their spring would involve canceled proms, drive-thru cap and gown pickups and postponed graduation ceremonies.

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