The State of Things

 

The issues, personalities and places of North Carolina right to you, every day in your podcast feed. Hosted by Frank Stasio and Anita Rao. Listen and subscribe on Google PlayApple Podcasts or wherever you get your favorite shows. Tweet us @state_of_things and see more show content on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Headshot of Ndelo.
Courtesy of Eric Ndelo

Street fashion is a venue for activism, according to Eric Ndelo. Through screen printing, he has elevated social justice movements like Black Lives Matter, empowered young artists and taught entrepreneurship to Congo youth. It was all part of the vision, he says.

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. 

Black Haüs

Hundreds of North Carolina musicians set up a desk and camera this spring for their chance at NPR stardom. The annual Tiny Desk contest gives unsigned musicians the chance to perform behind Bob Boilen's desk at NPR's Washington D.C. headquarters. 

In a unanimous vote on July 14, the Asheville City Council has decided to provide reparations to its Black residents for the city’s role in slavery, discrimination and community disinvestment. The decision is historic, as Asheville is one of the first cities to vote in favor of reparations. 
 

A dog and a bonobo.
Vanessa Woods

When thinking about evolution, Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, or “survival of the fittest,” is ingrained as the reason why some organisms thrived and others faltered. But our cultural understanding of “fittest” focuses on brute strength and size. What if there was another way to explain the success of some species? 

DPS building
Ildar Sagdejev / WikiMedia Commons

Local school districts within North Carolina can choose to follow Gov. Roy Cooper’s guidance on Plan B reopening — which includes remote and in-classroom hybrid learning — or they can choose complete remote-learning for the upcoming school year. 

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. 

Michele Lamping holds three sea turtle hatchlings out on the beach.
Courtesy of North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

Hundreds of sea turtles climb onto North Carolina’s shores to lay eggs each year. The state has about 330 miles of ocean-facing beach that is potential nesting habitat for sea turtles. Four different species commonly nest in North Carolina: the loggerhead, green turtle, Kemp’s ridley and leatherbacks. All seven of the global species of sea turtles are listed as endangered or threatened. These turtles face many predators in the wild — and humans also pose a great threat.

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.

A military member in distress
Alex Pena / U.S. Air Force

A clinical trial of active-duty military members showed for the first time that a known pain treatment can also be effectively used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

Black and white still image from a Bollywood film.
Wikimedia Commons

From indie rock to local rap, WKNC has built a loyal following of “hipsters and, well, more hipsters,” according to one station promo. But every Sunday morning, a totally different audience tune into North Carolina State University’s student radio station.

Jeffries stands in uniform next to a sign that reads 'Lindsey Jefferies NC's First Female African AMerican Black Helicopter Pilot for the NC Army National Guard.'
Courtesy of Lindsey Jefferies

Captain Lindsey Jefferies was the first of her six siblings to graduate from college. As a child, her family struggled financially and was constantly on the move in search of better paying jobs and a lower cost of living. She hoped that getting a good education could be a ticket to a more secure future and set the goal of attending UNC-Chapel Hill.

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?

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. 

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