The State of Things

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We bring the issues, personalities, and places of North Carolina to you. We're 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.

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Emanuel AME Church, Charleston, SC
Howard Arnoff / Flickr

The Rev. Clementa Pinckney preached peace and reconciliation as the pastor of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

He and eight others were killed in last year's attack on the church which sparked national conversations about race and violence. Today, his friends and family are carrying on his teachings.

Sarah Razak / Flickr Creative Commons

Water contamination in Flint, Mich., is perhaps the most prominent minority health crisis in America right now. It is affecting a majority African-American city, and raising questions about whether state leaders disproportionately distributed resources.

This type of intersection between public health and social justice is the theme of this year's Minority Health Conference at UNC-Chapel Hill. 

Image of Youth improv team 'Get The Hook'
Courtesy of the artist

When the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival began 16 years ago, it was a small gathering of three college improv groups and two local teachers. Today the festival spans two weeks, features acts from around the country, and is considered by many in the comedy world to be one of the premiere festivals in the nation.

Litigation, legal, gavel
Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal appellate court declared North Carolina's 1st and 12th Congressional Districts unconstitutional because they were gerrymandered on race. The court ordered legislators to redraw the districts within two weeks.

The ruling puts many issues surrounding the March 15 primary, including early voting and absentee ballots, in question.

Stefan Litwin is a piano composer and music professor at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Hans Joachim Zylla

For Stefan Litwin, playing the piano is personal. Litwin was born in Mexico City in 1960 after his parents fled from the Nazis in Europe years earlier.

He grew up speaking three languages but always felt like an outsider. He went on to study piano in Switzerland and the United States, all the while channeling his family's experience in the Holocaust through composing music.

New York Times reporter Adam Liptak discusses his career covering the Supreme Court of the United States.
Supermac1961 / Flickr Creative Commons

It takes a certain kind of reporter to cover the Supreme Court of the United States. Interpreting the Constitution is one thing, and interpreting complicated legal decisions is another. 

Adam Liptak of The New York Times has made a career out of dissecting SCOTUS, including the decades of legal battles over same-sex marriage and the court's place in the judicial systems of other developed countries. 

Image of 'Forsaken' cover by Ross Howell Jr.
New South Books

Virginia Christian is the only African-American juvenile woman ever executed in the state of Virginia. She was executed the day after her 17th birthday in 1912.

This fact is the backdrop for the historical novel "Forsaken" (New South Books/2016). The book tells the story of Christian through the lens of a young, idealist reporter Charles Mears. It's a tale woven with historical fact and fictional narrative that combines racial prejudice with hope and redemption.

Mallarmé HIP ensemble
Marc Banka Photography

The biennial North Carolina HIP (Historically Informed Performance) Music Festival hosted by Mallarmé Chamber Players is back this year with expanded programming. The festival features Baroque music played on period string instruments, which tend to sound richer, mellower and less edgy than modern counterparts.

The Mallarmé Chamber Players will play a two-part concert called the Biber Bowl featuring the Rosary Sonatas, 16 movements interpreting events from the lives of Jesus and Mary.

US Embassy Canada / Flickr Creative Commons

North Carolina is one of the leading states in solar energy. 

But the recent elimination of some tax credits and the possibility of solar permitting may slow the growth of solar energy in the state. And the Department of Environmental Quality is considering a change to the state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards that could affect renewable energy production in the state. 

An image of the cover of "Harness the Sun: America's Quest for a Solar-Powered Future"
Beacon Press / Beacon Press

The use of solar energy is increasing in America, but the renewable energy source is not cost-free. Solar energy provides a cleaner alternative to other energy sources like coal, but still poses a threat to natural habitats and for homeowners who cannot afford initial costs.

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