Kaia Findlay

Producer, "The State of Things"

Kaia Findlay is a producer for The State of Things, WUNC's daily, live talk show. Kaia grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in a household filled with teachers and storytellers. In elementary school, she usually fell asleep listening to recordings of 1950s radio comedy programs. After a semester of writing for her high school newspaper, she decided she hated journalism. While pursuing her bachelor’s in environmental studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, she got talked back into it. Kaia received a master’s degree from the UNC Hussman School of Journalism, where she focused on reporting and science communication. She has published stories with Our State Magazine, Indy Week, and HuffPost. She most recently worked as the manager for a podcast on environmental sustainability and higher education. Her reporting passions include climate and the environment, health and science, food and women’s issues. When not working at WUNC, Kaia goes pebble-wrestling, takes long bike rides, and reads while hammocking.
 

StarsApart/Flickr/CC

The North Carolina Supreme Court banned the state from reinstating the death sentence on a Black man named Marcus Robinson last Friday. Robinson was removed from death row in 2012  and sentenced to life without parole after a North Carolina judge found that his trial was influenced by racial discrimination in the jury. At Robinson’s original trial, the prosecution removed half of qualified Black jurors from serving — but only 15% of white jurors. 

A graphic showing seven different photographs of faces.
Alex Aguilar/Children's Theater of Charlotte

When Ingrid Chen McCarthy tried to talk with her 5-year-old daughter about what happened to George Floyd, she quickly found herself in an awkward and difficult conversation. She inundates her children with messages about treating others with kindness. Simply saying that a Black man was killed by a police officer because of his skin color did not cut it for her daughter. So, how do you explain something like the systematic dehumanization of Black people to kids?

Andrea Lingle with four children
Andrea Lingle

How do you heal from losing a child before getting the chance to meet them? The answer to this question is told in the painful experiences of 1 in 100 pregnancies affected by stillbirth each year in the United States. The loss can feel isolating. The grief can lie underneath the surface even on good days. For some people, the best medicine is in sharing their story.

a girl standing outside a straw-roofed bakery with two gryphons
Geneva Bowers

Geneva Bowers grew up watching animé television shows like “Sailor Moon” into the wee hours of the morning. The interest bled into another of her hobbies, drawing, and she began creating her own cartoon characters. As she honed her drawing skills, she noticed several patterns: Her characters were always thin, and they were always white.

Two women smiling together. Mother on the left, daughter on the right.
Kathleen Burkinshaw

Seventy-five years ago this week, the United States bombed two Japanese cities with nuclear weapons. The United States detonated the first atomic bomb over Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, and the second over Nagasaki three days later, killing tens of thousands of Japanese civilians. This event is more than just a page in a history textbook for Japanese American author Kathleen Burkinshaw.

A film poster with a man and a woman in a passionate embrace
Armando Seguso // Heritage Auctions

Our next Movies on the Radio hits close to home. This month, we will discuss how the South gets portrayed in film. Whether it is Mississippi in the 1930s in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” or the Louisiana bayou in “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” we will explore how the big screen takes on the South’s history, symbols, caricatures and critiques. And as conversations about systemic racism across the country evolve, what context do we need to give to “Gone With the Wind”?

A Graham storefront featuring works of art.
Renee' Russell

Businesses across North Carolina boarded up windows and storefronts in recent months amid ongoing protests against the police killing of George Floyd. For artists in cities like Asheville, Durham, Charlotte and Greensboro, these plywood panels were blank canvases, ripe for colorful street murals and visual statements of protest. These works of public art help communities and artists visualize what work still needs to be done to amplify Black voices — in the art world and beyond.

Lightner and his mom.
Courtesy of Kai Lightner

The climbing started with baby gates and wooden balconies. As a kid, professional rock climber Kai Lightner had a lot of energy and a love for scrambling up anything he could find. 

Map of North Carolina that shows the rate of sterilization in NC counties.
North Carolina Justice For Sterilization Victims Foundation

Between 1929 and 1974, North Carolina officials sterilized an estimated 7,600 people, many by force or coercion. The state’s eugenics program targeted people deemed “feebleminded,” sick or living with a disability. 

GoodFreePhotos//CC

North Carolina taxpayers channel billions of dollars into state agencies every year — agencies that, in turn, spend that money with private businesses in the state for anything from building construction to office supplies. But not every business benefits from the state dollars. 

Red and ominous lettering reads WUNC Presents Creep amongst a forest floor.
Matthew Scott

Creeping, crawling, thriving, surviving … no matter where we look, animal species are living in our midst. Some survive despite the challenges and hazards human life imposes, while others thrive because of it. 

Protester holds up a sign that reads: End systemic racism.
Pikist

Tens of thousands of workers in more than 25 cities are expected to participate in a full-day strike today as part of the “Strike for Black Lives.” Those who cannot strike for the full day are encouraged to walk away from their positions for about eight minutes — the amount of time a white police officer held his knee on George Floyd’s neck in Minneapolis. 

NC DHHS

North Carolina hit a record number of coronavirus hospitalizations this week, a day after Gov. Roy Cooper announced a three-week extension of Phase 2. 

Side photo of a North Carolina Public Schools bus.
NCDOT Communications

North Carolina public schools will open this fall with a mix of in-person and remote-learning options, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday. 

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. 

Lyndsey Gilpin

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

Cars at a drive-in movie
Cpl. Ali Azimi

Social distancing guidelines are pushing many social interactions outdoors — so why not the movies? Drive-in theaters had their heyday in the 1950s and ‘60s, with showings of family classics, kitschy horror films, sci-fi wonders and — ahem — “adults-only” flicks. The coronavirus pandemic has sparked a resurgence of interest in the iconic activity. 
 

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.” 

Collins sits at a table under a George Floyd mural that reads "George Floyd Rest in Power."
Courtesy of Armando Collins

For Armondo Collins, growing up in a predominantly-black neighborhood in St. Paul, Minnesota meant several things. It meant that he had to pass through majority white, wealthy communities whenever he wanted candy from the corner store. And it meant that he got stopped by the police a lot. 

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. 

Fayetteville City Council
City of Fayetteville, North Carolina

Who polices the police? Protesters rising up against George Floyd’s death and police violence have raised this question, including in Fayetteville. The Fayetteville City Council voted in support of establishing a citizens advisory board for issues of police misconduct at a special meeting Monday night. 

Demonstrators hold up signs in support of the DACA program.
Courtesy of Laura Garduño Garcia

Last Monday opened the beginning of a tense week for many U.S. immigrants. Then, relief: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday to uphold the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects over 600,000 people in the country from deportation. 

A person waves a rainbow flag in front of the Supreme Court building.
Ted Eytan

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gay, lesbian and transgender employees are protected from discrimination on the basis of sex on Monday. The 6-3 decision extended the definition of “discrimination on the basis of sex” in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sexual orientation and gender discrimination. 

Senior Airman Ian Beckley

 
As businesses reopen and summer weather lures people into public spaces, health officials in North Carolina worry about the pandemic’s increasing toll on the population. Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state topped 45,000 this week. 

Courtesy of Ronnie Pepper

When Ronnie Pepper was a kid, his mother told him he could not be the president or an astronaut. Though she did not say it aloud, Pepper understood that it was because of the color of his skin. Patterns of internalized oppression and ingrained racism are some of the targets of recent protests and calls for social change across the country. 

Sign outside Chemours' Fayetteville Works site
Vince Winkel

Three years ago this weekend, the public learned about the presence of a toxic chemical compound known as GenX in the Wilmington-area drinking water. 

University students sit in a classroom
Tulane Public Relations

In 2016, a 43-year-old black man named Keith Lamont Scott was shot by police about a mile away from the main campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The shooting sparked demonstrations in the student body, but the administration was slow to respond. 
 

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. 

Nursing home residents sit around a table.
PJ Johnson

Nursing homes are hotspots for spreading the coronavirus. Long-term residents can more easily stay isolated from family and friends, but workers and short-term patients travel in and out of nursing home communities. Many may be asymptomatic, unknowingly providing an opportunity for the virus to enter and exit vulnerable communities. 

Headshot of Andrea Harris.
Courtesy of The North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development

Andrea Harris was a force to be reckoned with. An advocate for the economic advancement of minority communities in the state, she tore down barriers that prevented those communities from owning homes or running businesses. 

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