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.

 

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. 

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. 

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). 

Police in riot gear stand in the street.
Jason deBruyn/WUNC

Where is the data on police violence? Every time a law enforcement officer uses a weapon, they submit a report justifying use of force. Police department procedures make those reports inaccessible to the public.

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. 

Waltz Maynor

As we work to gain perspective during this crisis, we may find ourselves searching our personal and collective memories for precedents, stories or myths that might restore the ground under our feet. What is the relationship between collective memory and identity? 
 

Soldiers of Indiana National Guard
Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy

As protests surged in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of a former Minneapolis police officer, governors and mayors in more than 20 states deployed the National Guard to control the crowds.

Squad car that reads "Police, Moore County Schools."
Donald Lee Pardue/Flickr Creative Commons

School resource officers have long been a mainstay in North Carolina’s public schools. For some parents, students and administrators, the presence of school resource officers offers reassurance of heightened safety in the wake of school shootings and violence. For others, the constant presence of law enforcement inside hallways and classrooms creates a culture of fear and trauma, stemming from disproportionate arrest and conviction rates of black and brown students. 

Matt Bush/Blue Ridge Public Radio

On Tuesday evening the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will vote on the future of two Confederate monuments in downtown Asheville: a Robert E. Lee memorial in Pack Square and a monument honoring fallen Confederate soldiers outside the Buncombe County Courthouse. 
 

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