Stacia Brown

Producer, "The State of Things"

Stacia Brown comes to WUNC from Washington, DC, where she was a producer for WAMU’s daily news radio program, 1A. She’s the creator and host of two podcasts, The Rise of Charm City and Hope Chest. Her audio projects have been featured on Scene on Radio, a podcast of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University; BBC 4’s Short Cuts; and American Public Radio’s Terrible, Thanks for Asking.

Before working in podcasts and public radio, she was a freelance writer whose work was featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, New Republic, and several other publications.

Stacia was born in Michigan, raised in Maryland, and delighted to find herself living and learning in North Carolina now.

Cannabis containers and advocacy materials reading 'No one should be in jail for weed.'
We Go High NC

Hemp — including smokable hemp — is legal in North Carolina. But that is only the case if the hemp does not contain more than trace amounts of THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana. Hemp and marijuana can be similar in appearance. Both contain some level of THC, though hemp’s concentration is much lower.

An older Black woman standing in chef's gear: a black apron with a black buttoned shirt underneath and a black cap. The woman is looking off to the right and is wearing glasses
Courtesy of Sprouthouse Agency

When Hanan Shabazz was a child in her grandmother’s Asheville home, she remembers their house as the one where those in need of a good meal would come to be freely fed. The experience was formative for her as she grew up and opened Shabazz Restaurant in the early 1970s. The restaurant was part of Asheville's thriving Black business scene in the historic neighborhood known as The Block until urban renewal forced its closure. 

The famous well at UNC-Chapel Hill, with a larger building in the background.
Courtesy of UNC-Chapel Hill

Do UNC-Chapel Hill’s admissions policies disproportionately favor underrepresented minorities? That question is at the center of a federal court case on trial in Winston-Salem.

NCSBE

Over 5 million North Carolinians cast ballots in this year’s election, many of them opting for mail-in and early onsite voting. While there is still a lot we do not know about voter demographics, we do know that the pandemic did not deter voter engagement. 

A student and teacher, both wearing masks, sit in front of a laptop in a classroom
Piney Creek School / Facebook

Report cards have been distributed for the first time in the 2020-21 school year, and in many school districts across the state, students have yet to set foot inside a traditional classroom. 

Around the world, skin-lightening agents are a billion-dollar industry. Colorism and discrimination are major factors.
Flickr/CC

In the U.S. as well as around the world, skin color has long been associated with social perceptions of beauty, intellect and class. Studies have shown that many perceive lighter skin as indicative of higher intelligence. Research also suggests that those with darker skin experience higher instances of criminalization

A large room with a square spiraled ceiling and red carpet flooring. There are more than 100 people in this room, some sitting in chairs on the red carpet and some standing on the next level, one that overlooks the area with the red carpeting
Speaker Tim Moore

With less than a week till the end of voting, residents in key North Carolina counties are heading to the polls to determine who will take control of the state’s House of Representatives. Though Republicans currently hold a majority in the House, Democrats would need to secure just six more seats to flip power in their favor.

Carteret County Shore Protection Office

It’s estimated that annual average temperatures in North Carolina will rise between 2 and 5 degrees by the middle of this century, and 2019 was the warmest year on record for the state. This heat has already had a significant impact on farmworkers, who have reported noticing both an increase in temperatures outdoors while working and afterwards, in lodging that does not offer relief from evenings that are trending increasingly warmer. 

Adams Wood

What’s the difference between committing the same non-violent crime in one North Carolina county and another? For Daniel Noell, a homeless man convicted of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and drug trafficking in Buncombe and Yancey counties, the difference was vast: he was sentenced to 30 months of probation in Buncombe County and nearly six years in prison in Yancey County. 

A Black man in a black shirt smiling. He has his hands behind his head
Courtesy of Phonte Coleman

Robeson County-born, Greensboro-raised musician Phonte Coleman has traveled all over the world, but there’s no other place he can imagine living than North Carolina. A founding member of the rap group Little Brother, as well as a member of the genre-bending music group The Foreign Exchange, Coleman appreciates the quiet, lowkey community he’s built in the state and the focus on his craft that it affords him.

NC Dept of Agriculture and Consumer Services

For over a century, Black farmers have faced challenges in securing federal and local funding to aid their farms in times of need and during crises. COVID-19 has been no different. From lack of access to information about coronavirus relief provisions for farmers to difficulty finding spaces to safely vend during the crisis, the pandemic has made obstacles even more stark.

Two white men, Rep. Joe Sam Queen on the left and Mike Calmpitt on the right. Clampitt has grey hair with grey facial hair and Queen has light grey hair. Both men are smiling  and wearing a suit and tie.
Blue Ridge Public Radio

One of the most competitive local races in the state is in District 119, which includes Jackson, Swain and Haywood Counties. Democratic Rep. Joe Sam Queen and his Republican challenger Mike Clampitt have vied for the same seat in the North Carolina House of Representatives since 2012. This is their fifth race against one another and its outcome will take Western North Carolina’s political temperature this election season. 

A map of North Carolina color-coded by districts.
North Carolina Legislature

The past 10 years have seen North Carolina’s legislative and congressional district maps drawn and redrawn, court-ordered resolutions to partisan and racial gerrymandering and the long-term impact of racial redistricting. The upcoming 2020 election will determine how the state’s communities will be represented for the next decade.

White man wearing a mask directing a group of students to come forward with hand motions
Wake County School System

Wake, Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Guilford Counties are among the state’s public school districts that have announced mid-fall reopening plans for elementary and middle school students. Each district intends to implement reopening differently based on their community’s size, distinct challenges and specific concerns. The reopening decisions come as a relief to some parents who have struggled to balance the demands of work and remote instruction. 

A movie poster saying a fascinating adventure into the unknown! There is a yellow tiger being poked by a small white man next to a large pair of scissors, matches, and white sewing thread
Flickr / Creative Commons

One of the truest forms of horror Hollywood ever depicts is the story of mankind abandoned, disoriented or forgotten. Whether it’s a film about being lost at sea like Robert Zemeckis’ “Cast Away” or one about being so miniscule that your spouse believes you’ve been eaten by the family cat — as was the case in the 1957 sci-fi film “The Incredible Shrinking Man,” — movies about isolation force viewers to confront some of their worst fears.

Parental advisory labels date back to the 1980s. They exist, in part, to alert consumers to the presence of profanity, explicit discussion of sex and sexuality and graphic violence. But there has never been a unilateral ranking system to determine what content must be labeled as explicit. 

Durham-based musician A.yoni Jeffries understands discouragement. Her latest album, “Potential Gon’ Pay,” was delayed three times this year. But the 25-year-old never stays discouraged for long. In the interim, while she awaited a new release date, she focused her attention on a new endeavor, Handèwa Farms, which she launched in December 2019 with eight partners. 

Ronnie Chatterji, smiling
NC Department of Transportation

Aaron “Ronnie” Chatterji is a first-time political candidate, running as a Democrat for the position of North Carolina Treasurer. He knows it is a challenge, facing off against an incumbent. And he knows a win would be unprecedented: If elected, he would become the first Indian American elected to statewide office in North Carolina. 

Headshot of Rissi Palmer
Chris Charles

Independent country music recording artist Rissi Palmer is not surprised by the feedback she has received about her new Apple Music radio show “Color Me Country Radio,” which explores Black, Latinx and Indigenous voices in country music. She has heard everything from, “Is this a limited series? You’re going to run out of people to talk to!” to “Why does everything have to be about race?” 

Charts and graphs of COVID-19 surveillance reports
Hertford County Government

Though COVID-19 struck North Carolina’s suburban and urban communities earliest, the virus has begun to sweep through the state’s rural communities at an alarming rate. 

The North Carolina Council of State is one of two collective bodies that make up the state’s executive branch. It consists of 10 elected positions, including the governor, lieutenant governor and offices overseeing labor, agriculture, the treasury, insurance, education and more. Do you know what each of the 10 positions does or how the Council of State differs from the North Carolina Cabinet? 

20th Century Studios/Dreamworks Pictures

Feeling stir-crazy staying at home during the pandemic? Our next Movies on the Radio may be just what you need. This month with Marsha Gordon and Laura Boyes, we will explore films about isolation and escape.

From Tom Hanks' deep and abiding relationship with Wilson in "Cast Away" to Brooke Shields' love affair with Christopher Atkins in "The Blue Lagoon" to Matt Damon's time stranded in outer space in "The Martian," we will talk about films that envision being alone and what it does to the body, mind, and psyche.

A headshot of Randall Kenan
UNC Chapel Hill English and Comparative Literature Department

Last weekend, the literary community was rocked by news of local giant Randall Kenan’s passing. He died in his Hillsborough home late last week at the age of 57. 

A poster mapping the Atlantic Coast Pipeline
AtlanticCoastPipeline.com

North Carolina has the largest state-recognized Native American population east of the Mississippi River. But until recently, state-recognized Native nations have had little input on issues of environmental governance. 

Union County Public Schools

More than 60% of North Carolina’s student population attends school in a district that started the fall quarter with remote-only instruction. But some county school districts, including Buncombe, Onslow, Gaston, Union and Harnett decided to start the new school year under Plan B, which provides partial in-person instruction.

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. 

Woman sitting at a kitchen table
Creative Commons

For many who suffer from eating disorders, COVID-19 has thrown a curveball into their usual management and coping methods. Social isolation has meant less accountability and a heightened ability to hide disordered eating. 

Students sitting on the North Carolina State campus wearing masks and socially distanced.
N.C. State University

Within one month of reopening campuses, positive COVID-19 cases are cropping up throughout the UNC System. Three of the system’s 17 schools have already pivoted to remote instruction: UNC Chapel Hill, East Carolina University and North Carolina State University have all ended in-person instruction, encouraging students to move off campus as soon as possible.

State officials have been preparing for a major spike in mail-in ballots since the initial COVID-19 lockdown in March. North Carolina will be the first state in the country to start sending out mail-in ballots this year on Sept. 4, and election officials are prepared to pre-process votes received by mail. 

North Carolina Public Schools

In the 1990s, Tabari Wallace aspired to a career in the NFL. But during high school, he became a teen father and also found himself overlooked for college recruitment.  With his long-held dream and the future of his young family at stake, Wallace paid a visit to East Carolina University, where he introduced himself to the head football coach and gave him his athletic reel. 

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