SOT Team

Producer, "The State of Things"
text of the sign: 'Freedom Hill: Community established here by freed blacks in 1865. Incorporated as Princeville in 1885.'
ncdcr.gov

The concept began with eight mayors from historically black towns who joined academics to preserve history, problem solve and build for the future. The 2015 project was so successful, it has expanded into the multidisciplinary Black Communities conference. Hosted by the Institute for African American Research and NCGrowth, organizer Karla Slocum is professor of Anthropology and the Director of the Institute of African American Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and organizer Mark Little is Director of NCGrowth and Executive Director at UNC Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise.

book cover for 'dreams that can save your life,' picturing a dreaming woman and a hooded monk in the background
Findhorn Press

Dr. Larry Burk has spent much of his life practicing traditional medicine as a radiologist. But his search for solutions to his patients’ problems led him on an unexpected journey outside of traditional medicine. A graduate of Duke University, Burk co-founded the Duke Center for Integrative Medicine. He is certified in acupuncture, hypnosis, EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) and is committed to holistic medicine.

many small photos of plastic objects such as a pizza table or small bag, each photographed next to a ruler
Robin Frohardt

Mandatory recycling is law in some places around the United States, which makes people feel comfortable about their part in saving the planet. But what happens to single-use plastics, like take out containers, grocery bags, and Starbucks cup caps? They end up in the oceans, among other places.

To honor Frederick Douglass’ 200th birthday, the nonprofit Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives set forth to print and distribute one million copies of Douglass’ historic slave narrative. They initially had no idea how they would generate public interest. Then Donald Trump was quoted saying, “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice.”  Suddenly Ken Morris, a descendant of Douglass and co-founder of the nonprofit, was fielding non-stop calls from the press, and his history lesson for the president went viral.

photo of Chris Hickman conversing with other officers, johnnie rush is handcuffed in the background
City of Asheville

Asheville resident Johnnie Jermaine Rush was walking home from work on Aug. 24, 2017 when he was stopped by police for jaywalking. Rush felt he was being harassed and ran away to avoid arrest. Bodycam video of the incident was leaked to the Asheville Citizen Times in February 2018, and it went viral. 

photo of John Hedley holding his book Saddle Up.
John Hedley

On his desk sits a bumper sticker that reads “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.” For John Hedley this statement is personal, not political. He vividly remembers coming home from Vietnam to angry crowds who branded him and his fellow service members “potheads, murderers and nutjobs.” His solution? Showing first-hand support for the next generation of soldiers.

Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis shake hands after the debate at UNC-TV Wednesday night.
Mike Oniffrey / UNC-TV

Facebook’s stock plummeted at the news that 50 million user accounts had been breached and used to create profiles of prospective voters. Since then the company behind the breach, Cambridge Analytica, has been suspended from Facebook. The damage in North Carolina has already been done.

Zainab Antepli, a junior at Chapel Hill High School, calls for tougher gun laws in front of a large crowd at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh.
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

Since the mass school shooting in Columbine, America has seemed almost powerless against rogue gunmen attacking defenseless suburban schools. After the tragic killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, many declared that if America did not make changes after Newtown it never would. 

photo of krish mohan
Courtesy of Krish Mohan

Krish Mohan has been a comedian since his teenage years when he won a talent contest at high school. Looking for a way to finetune his craft, he wound up at a local club practicing his jokes between sets for rock bands. His early humor revolved around being from an immigrant family who moved from India to Pittsburgh when he was just 8 years old. 

photo of duke chapel
Wikimedia Commons

In 2014, the LGBTQ community rallied around students at Duke Divinity School after former Dean Richard Hays warned incoming students that under the rules of the United Methodist Church openly gay individuals would not be ordained and gay marriage is not accepted. Though Dean Hays is long gone, some students continue to voice discontent. During the state-of-the-school speech last month, Dean Elaine Heath was interrupted by LGBTQ students carrying bullhorns and chanting “I am somebody, and I won’t be stopped by nobody.”

photo of JoAnne Smart Drane and Bettye Ann Davis Tillman
UNCG

Before the University of North Carolina at Greensboro was a thriving liberal arts school filled with rich and diverse voices, it was Woman’s College. When JoAnne Drane stepped foot on the campus in 1956, the school was one of the largest women’s colleges in the country, but it was far from diverse. In fact, she was one of the first two black students.

A nurse performs her work at a community health clinic.
Sabin Institute / Flickr/Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/ooK2xw

 

As the Trump administration continues to chip away at Obamacare, many public health practitioners are left wondering how the changes will affect their clients. The statewide sexual health non-profit Shift NC has voiced particular concerns about how the administration’s policies could affect underserved teens and adolescents.

picture of Sheriff Sam Page
N.C. Sheriff's Association

There have been more than 10 school shootings in the country so far this year.  As the gun debate rages on Capitol Hill, students around the country have taken things into their own hands staging walkouts and protests.

photo of Brian Southwell
Courtesy of Brian Southwell

How long does it take the brain to input information and process it as fact or fiction? Not long, according to Brian Southwell. He is a researcher at RTI International and co-editor of the book “Misinformation and Mass Audiences” (University of Texas Press/2018) who looks at the science and psychology behind "fake news.” 

photo of four men in the woodsy sculpture from duke gardens
Kevin Clark

For more than a decade, John Harrison was the frontman for the indie-rock band North Elementary. He has since left that gig to work solo, which he says gives him more flexibility and creative freedom. 

Donald van der Vaart
DENR

Donald van der Vaart was North Carolina’s top environmental official under former Gov. Pat McCrory.  When Gov. Roy Cooper took office, Van der Vaart demoted himself and was later placed on suspension after writing a controversial opinion piece in an environmental law journal. However, he recently reemerged as a candidate for President Trump's Council on Environmental Quality.

picture of Billy Graham
By Warren K. Leffler / U.S. News and World Reports

In the late ‘40s, Billy Graham’s crusades filled tents, and his showmanship quickly evolved into what would become televangelism. Graham earned the title “America’s Pastor,” and his sermons reached countless millions in close to 200 countries.

Amanda Magnus

When Juana Ortega walked into St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Greensboro last Spring, she was seeking sanctuary from deportation. But she may have also inspired a movement.

photo of Victor Lawe dressed as  the black panther in the studio with host Frank Stasio
Dana Terry

Weeks before the release of "Black Panther," presale tickets were on course to outsell all other superhero movies. It was one of the most tweeted about movies of 2017, despite not having a release date until February of this year.  Host Frank Stasio takes a look at the buzz behind the movie with comic book aficionados and scholars.

Photo of 'Black Beach/White Beach' logo.
Southern Documentary Fund

Each Memorial Day weekend hundreds of thousands of African-American motorcyclists gather at Myrtle Beach for what is affectionately called “Black Bike Week.” The event brings in more than $40 million to the greater Myrtle Beach area.

Photo of Rolonda Watts.
Courtesy of Rolonda Watts

Rolonda Watts began her career as a reporter for WFMY News in Greensboro, North Carolina. She moved on from there to New York City, where she is remembered as the local news anchor during the “Today” show.

N.C. Department of Transportation
Dave DeWitt

The North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation last summer aimed at preventing violence during police stops.  House Bill 21 instructed that the Department of Motor Vehicles update the driver’s license handbook to include updated guidelines for behavior during a police stop.

Equity In Education

Jan 16, 2018
a street sign with the words education and future on them
Creative Commons/TCODL

 

Education equity is becoming a popular phrase among educators, but what does it mean, and what is North Carolina doing to provide a sound education to both privileged and disadvantaged students? Nonprofit news organization EdNC explores the topic in their new documentary series “Equity Meets Education,” a story told through the eyes of four African-American leaders. 

University of Georgia Press

An interracial farmer’s co-op built upon the principles of cooperative communalism existed for 20 years in rural Mississippi. Scholar Robert Hunt Ferguson explores this socio-economic experiment in his book “Remaking the Rural South: Interracialism, Christian Socialism and Cooperative Farming in Jim Crow Mississippi” (The University of Georgia Press 2018). Ferguson is a professor of history at Western Carolina University.