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.

 

United States Marine Corps

Earlier this month the U.S. Marine Corps ordered the removal of the Confederate flag from Marine installations. 

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. 

furniture on the street
70023venus2009 via Flickr

Updated June 19, 3:30 p.m.

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley’s moratorium against evictions ends on June 21. Those living in federally-subsidized housing — also called Section 8 — have until July 25.

North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources

When Hurricane Matthew flooded his hometown in 2016, Mayor Bobbie Jones understood the magnitude of the decisions ahead. As the National Guard drained the floodwaters back into the Tar River, some of the 2,200 residents considered relocation. 

Tim Walter / Zoocrü

Zoocrü is a Durham progressive jazz combo embedded in African diasporic music. They describe themselves more simply — Zoocrü is Black American music.

The North Carolina House of Representatives' meeting room
North Carolina General Assembly

Cities around the country are facing pressure to reform their policing and take a hard look at systemic racism. Minneapolis announced the intent to defund portions of their police department. Other cities have ended relationships between school systems and the police. 

Creative Commons 2.0

 

 

Nationwide protests against the police killing of George Floyd are still underway, and they have reignited discourse around race and racism. These conversations can be particularly challenging for friends, partners, and colleagues of different races.

Barbed wire perimeter fence.
Colby Rabon / Carolina Public Press

North Carolina has failed to protect inmates from COVID-19, according to a ruling from a Wake County Superior Court judge. The litigation against Gov. Roy Cooper and members of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety highlights evidence and affidavits that contradict DPS’ claimed safety measures. 

Baba Kenya

In the 1700s, approximately 5% of the pre-colonial United States was Muslim. Most of them were enslaved, and one of the foundational figures of early American Islam lived in North Carolina. Omar ibn Said has confounded scholars and translators for more than a century. 

Charlotte 2020 Host Committee
Charlotte Regional Vistors Authority

As President Donald Trump plans to move his presidential nomination acceptance speech to a different venue, the city of Charlotte continues its plan to host the Republican National Convention this August. 
 

 

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. 

(AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)

Do looting and property damage subvert the movement against police violence? Or do rubber bullets in response to material destruction expose law enforcement’s prioritization of private property over human life? 

Byrd holding his fists together in front of his face, with his thumbs facing outward in opposite directions.
Courtesy of Hausson Byrd

Writing poetry in this moment of civil unrest is not much different than writing poetry at any other time in American history, according to Hausson Byrd. He says poets have been writing about police brutality, racism and violence since the beginning. 

Credit: Union County Government

With rare consensus from Democrats and Republicans in the North Carolina House of Representatives, House Bill 1169 — which outlines provisions for an anticipated increase in absentee-by-mail voting this fall — passed 116-3 last week.

Historical photograph of men in a truck
Library of Congress

Anti-racist activists are protesting across the country in response to police brutality against people of color, particularly black men. This latest wave began after George Floyd, a black man, died after a white former Minneapolis police officer held his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. An independent autopsy concluded Floyd's cause of death as "asphyxiation from sustained pressure." Floyd was in police custody for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill. Many recognize that white racism and violence against black and brown people lead to this civil unrest, but what causes white violence?

Courtesy of Jooselord

Inciting riots is his God-given gift, the Durham rapper admits. Jooselord does it regularly on stage and his upcoming release — “MoshPit Messiah” —  is a testament to that skill. So it was a surprise to some of Jooselord’s fans when he maintained peace at protests over the past week in Raleigh and Durham.

NC DHHS

Thirty-nine percent of the people with confirmed cases of coronavirus in North Carolina are Hispanic. But Latinos only make up 9.6% of the total population. Health experts say the disproportionate rate is due to working and living conditions as well as access to culturally-appropriate health care and information. 
 

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. 
 

Courtesy of Chris Suggs

As protests against police brutality, harassment and discrimination continue across the state, community leaders and citizens are taking time to reflect on their own experiences with law enforcement and the country’s long history of racial disparity in policing. 

Line of police officers in riot gear face a line of kneeling protesters.
Jason deBruyn/WUNC

For the last three nights, people in communities around North Carolina raised their voices and demonstrated against police brutality against black people. The death of George Floyd sparked these protests in the Tar Heel state and around the country.

A bus stop is covered with signs, posters and flowers in remembrance of George Floyd, who died in police custody.
Creative Commons

As of June 2, The Washington Post reports on-duty police officers have shot and killed 422 people in 2020 — on par with the average number of fatal police shootings in the U.S. despite the way the coronavirus pandemic has changed or slowed down everyday life. 

Mugshot of Chauvin.
Courtesy of Ramsey County Sheriff's Office via AP

On Memorial Day, former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, leaving it there after Floyd lost consciousness and became unresponsive. 

Courtesy of Jessica Yinka Thomas

Jessica Yinka Thomas grew up in both the United States and West Africa. Her father, a Nigerian economics professor, and her mother, an American computer scientist, raised their four kids between Miami, Nigeria, Senegal and eventually Maryland to get them ready for college in the states.

Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via AP, Pool

Perhaps you are grateful for the lack of election news. While coverage of presidential primary contenders started back in 2018, former Vice President Joe Biden has all but disappeared from the news. 

Courtesy of Blair Publishing

Twenty-five years ago, renowned poet Lenard D. Moore invited a group of his peers into his basement for a session of writing critique. That monthly gathering evolved into the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective, which has supported over 60 writers across a variety of styles through their careers. 

Deuel News Co./UNC Libraries Commons

Coming of age in a decaying milltown is a common American recipe for brain drain. While growing up in Canton, Zeb Smathers anxiously watched his community struggle with the fallout from globalization. 

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. 

A pregnant woman holds a yellow face mask over her midsection.
Marco Verch/Creative Commons

Pregnancy and postpartum experiences can already be rife with anxiety. But since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, expectant and new mothers’ anxieties have heightened exponentially. 

Brooke Bust-Webber/WUNC

Summer for many families in North Carolina is filled with beach weekends, getaways to the mountains, bountiful produce and other fun in the sun. But how much of that will be possible this season with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic?


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