The State of Things

M-F 12 Noon, M-Th 8p, Sat 6a

Host Frank Stasio.
Credit Ben McKeown / For WUNC

We bring the issues, personalities, and places of North Carolina to you. We are a live show, and we want to hear from listeners. Call 1-877-962-9862, email sot@wunc.org, or tweet @state_of_things. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Or join our live audience for monthly remote broadcasts from Greensboro's Triad Stage. Check out our special recurring series: #BackChannel, Movies On The Radio and Embodied. You can also listen to Political Junkie Ken Rudin Fridays on the program.

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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?

In a sweet tea-colored swamp in Bladen County, North Carolina there is a group of trees that has intrigued researchers for decades.

Scientists knew the bald cypress trees that sprouted up from the Black River were old, and a new study reveals a number of the trees date back millennia. One tree is at least 2,624 years old.

The bald cypress' remarkable age reveal information about climate history in the region, including whether the people who lived in the area experienced significant droughts.

Jamea Richmond-Edwards / Courtesy of E. Patrick Johnson

Writer E. Patrick Johnson was hesitant to collect the stories of queer black Southern women. He is a cisgender gay black man, and the divide between the male and female experience was something he felt he could not portray on the page. But after being encouraged by women who wanted their experiences known and shared, he found a way to spotlight their voices.

Courtesy of Kamal Bell

Sankofa Farms was originally supposed to be a school garden in which middle school students could get away from the pressures of the classroom and get their hands dirty in the soil. After the proposal was rejected by the school’s principal, middle-school science teacher Kamal Bell made a much bigger investment in the idea.

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. 

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. 
 

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. 

Martin addresses a press conference outdoors.
Keely Arthur/WRAL

Former Raleigh City Council member Saige Martin is facing multiple accusations of sexual misconduct. The Wake County District Attorney asked the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation Monday to review the allegations of four men who accused him of making unwanted sexual advances while he worked at North Carolina State University.

Pixabay

Are protesters surveilling the police or vice versa? Law enforcement agencies use cell phone location-based data to identify and incriminate demonstrators. Yet handheld videosof police violence, shared online, prompted and sustained the ongoing wave of demonstrations.

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. 

Two women at a Black Lives Matter Protest
Elvert Barnes

 

American voters have a notoriously short political memory. The United States is struggling to come to terms with the inequities highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic and the recent police killings of numerous Black people — and some pundits are wondering which of the issues front of mind today will influence the upcoming elections in November.

Cooper at a lecturn.
UNC-TV

North Carolina will remain in Phase 2 of reopening until at least July 17. Governor Roy Cooper also announced a mask requirement that goes into effect today at 5 p.m. 

Aunt Jemima syrup bottles
Mike Mozart

As the country reckons with the systemic racism upon which it is built, major companies are making statements of their own. Some address inequities and enumerate actionable steps to combat racism. 

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. 

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. 

Madison Cawthorn for Congress

A 24-year-old political newcomer handily defeated a candidate endorsed by President Donald Trump in yesterday’s Republican runoff election in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District. 

A group of women sit around a table. A sign behind them reads "Think Babies."
North Carolina Early Education Coalition

Even before COVID-19 began to impact childcare center operations across the state, half of North Carolina was a childcare desert — a geographic area where three or more working-parent families vy for every available childcare slot. 

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. 

Protestors march for DACA.
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The LGBTQ community and DACA recipients are celebrating last week's Supreme Court decisions. In a surprise 5-4 majority, the Supreme Court ruled the Trump Administration could not immediately end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program⁠. 

Two old photos of Smallwood
Courtesy of Arwin Smallwood

Arwin Smallwood grew up in the rural town of Indian Woods, in the northeastern part of North Carolina. The ten-square-mile community is the home to descendants of the Native American, African and European people who lived there over hundreds of years. Smallwood came of age there in the 60s and 70s. 

Jade Wilson

Jaki Shelton Green joins us on her birthday to discuss “the wind of freedom” which billows through the North Carolina poet laureate’s new album of verse and song, “The River Speaks of Thirst” (Soul City Sounds/2020). 

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