Us & Them Us & Them explores all sides of the cultural issues that too often divide us. Peabody Award-winner Trey Kay brings us stories that may make you rethink your opinions on religion, sexuality, and other important issues
Us & Them

Us & Them

From West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Us & Them explores all sides of the cultural issues that too often divide us. Peabody Award-winner Trey Kay brings us stories that may make you rethink your opinions on religion, sexuality, and other important issues

Most Recent Episodes

Immigrant 'Concentration Camps' on the Southern Border?

U.S. immigration policies are very much in the spotlight recently with reports on conditions at some of the southern border detention camps and fresh concerns about children being held apart from their parents. Recently, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called these facilities "concentration camps" and was swiftly rebuked by people on the right and left. To be clear, the U.S. government holds immigrants — who have entered the country illegally — while they're being processed. The question is: what do we call these places? Are they Detention centers — as the government refers to them? Detainment camps? Is Ocasio-Cortez misinformed and perhaps, hyperbolic when she injects a loaded term like "concentration camp" into the discussion? To get a better perspective on this, Trey thought it'd be a good time to check in with author Andrea Pitzer about her book, One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps.

Pride in the Mountain State

June is Gay Pride month across the U.S. and around the world. It's a celebration of increased social acceptance and expanded legal rights. But as Trey has learned, despite that, there are still attitudes and even words that continue to cause pain. An Us & Them episode we called "Revisiting the Grand Palace" stirred up just such a reaction from Mark Yozie, a self-described proud, gay man living in the Mountain State. He was incensed at our story, and in this episode, he and Trey meet to talk things out. And we offer a tribute to "Maw Maw," a gay man who was sent to a West Virginia mental institution in the 1960s for violating sodomy laws.

Reckoning with Sexual Assault: Righting a Wrong

Two college freshman spend a night together. There's inexperience, miscommunication and things go wrong — really wrong. One of them calls what happened sexual assault, the other calls it rape. But together, they've found a remarkable way to recover, heal and learn. For this episode, Trey speaks with Stephanie Lepp, the producer of the podcast "Reckonings" about the story of Anwen and Sameer and one night that has changed their lives.

Farm Wars

It's a tough time to be a soybean farmer in the U.S. Soybeans are a $40 billion business in America, but crop prices plummeted last year because of the trade war between the U.S. and China. That has many farmers taking steps to boost their crop yields and effective weed prevention is one approach. For years, farmers kept even the stubborn "pigweed" at bay with herbicides like Monsanto's Round-up. But over time, weeds become resistant to the chemical. Monsanto and other companies have another product that relies on a chemical called "dicamba," which effectively keeps the weeds at bay. But, there's a problem: dicamba can evaporate and drift from where its sprayed and harm other sensitive plants. In 2017, the drifting chemical damaged some three and half million acres of valuable crops. In this episode, Trey Kay and Loretta Williams travel to Arkansas to report on a simmering battle — more like a civil war — that pits farmer against farmer and forces them to consider the line between doing what's good for their business and doing what's good for their neighbor.

Still Waiting For Justice

Two and a half years ago, an African-American teen named James Means was shot and killed in Charleston, WV. An older white man, William Pullman faces first-degree murder charges. The trial was scheduled for this week, but instead, the Means family learned there's a new twist in the case. They talk with Trey and Lacie Pierson of the Charleston Gazette for an update.

Waiting for Justice

In Charleston, WV back in November 2016, William Pulliam, a 62-year-old white man, shot and killed James Means, a 15-year-old African-American boy. The case made national headlines. Reports say during his confession, Pulliam told police, "The way I look at it, that's another piece of trash off of the street." Trey has met with lawyers and others grieving such a loss. Multiple delays have pushed back Pulliam's trial. One delay was to assess Pulliam's mental competency, a move the Means' family just doesn't understand. In December 2018, Pulliam was finally declared mentally competent, and his trial is scheduled to start in early May 2019. With so many delays, the Means family, has little confidence in the legal system. As the trial date approaches, they're waiting for justice.

Opioid Recovery in Appalachia's Ground Zero

America has a drug addiction crisis. Recovery could take decades. Opioid addiction has hit Appalachia harder than any region in the nation. This episode, Trey talks to Caitlin Esch, a reporter for The Uncertain Hour podcast produced by APM's Marketplace. Caitlin has spent years tracking the challenges of the drug epidemic in Wise County, VA, where opioid addiction, and now methamphetamine and cocaine abuse takes lives and devastates families.

States Look to Appalachia for Vaccination Laws

Measles cases have spiked in the first quarter of 2019 with outbreaks in ten states. Vaccinations prevent many communicable diseases, but measles is back. Epidemiologists believe it's because some parents do not immunize their children. As a result, the so called "herd protection" from disease that public health officials rely on, is weaker. The option to forgo vaccinations varies from state to state and is based on laws that are different across the country. Some states allow vaccination exemptions based on a person's religious or philosophical beliefs. However some lawmakers are rethinking their vaccination policies because of the recent up tick in measles cases - and they're looking to an unlikely part of the country as a model: Appalachia.

Reconnecting With Femme Voice

In the winter of 2016, we told the story of Anne Kelly Skinner, a Charleston, WV lawyer, who was transitioning from male to female. As Anne's body became less dude-like and more womanly, she was pleased. However, she worried her voice wouldn't match her new body. There are many physical challenges for transgender people, one that doesn't get a lot of attention is how a trans woman learns to sound like a woman. If a woman sounds like a guy, can she truly feel like a woman? We revisit Anne, three years later, to find out how she's doing and if she has found what she calls, her femme voice.

Scarlet Letters and Second Chances

As a West Virginia teenager, Amber Miller dropped out of school, took drugs and robbed homes. She wound up on the wrong side of the law and served time for a felony. In a youth correction center, she turned her life around, but after her release, had trouble finding a job to support her two sons. Like 8% of Americans with felony conviction, Amber had to "check the box" on job applications admitting to her criminal past. The felony on her record was like a 'scarlet letter' and most employers were reluctant to hire her. Amber was committed to change, but was society willing to give her a second chance? Trey speaks with Amber and West Virginia politicians about the state's plans for helping felons get back into the workforce.

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