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Us & Them

“Us & Them” is a podcast exploring 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” is a joint project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting and Trey Kay Productions, with support from the West Virginia Humanities Council.

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Trey Kay

Host of Us & Them

tkay@wvpublic.org, @Trey_Kay

Episodes

Trey Kay +,Feb. 21, 2024

Us & Them: Navigating Post-Pandemic Medicaid

Medicaid is undergoing a major review to determine the eligibility of millions, but not everyone is getting the notice. For this Us & Them, we look at changes to a health care safety net program that serves more than 90 million low-income Americans.

Trey Kay +,Feb. 07, 2024

Us & Them: The Geography Of Abortion

State borders are now all important in determining access to abortion. Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, West Virginia’s only abortion clinic has moved across the border to Maryland to continue providing abortions.

Trey Kay +,Jan. 24, 2024

Us & Them: Expungement — Between Hope and Danger

More than a quarter of the adults in West Virginia have a criminal record. That includes cases of all types, some with arrests that never progress to a conviction or jail time. Yet the records can show up years later in a background check and make someone ineligible for a job or a place to live. On this Us & Them episode, host Trey Kay looks at the road toward a second chance. Nearly every state now has some sort of process to seal or expunge a record depending on the crime. But some say giving a clean slate to someone with a record is dangerous.

Trey Kay +,Jan. 10, 2024

Us & Them: Caught Between Two Worlds

Our nation’s capital can make and break careers. In a very short period, Cassidy Hutchinson went from being a complete political outsider to traveling on Air Force One with the President of the United States. She tells Us & Them host Trey Kay about life on either side of the political divide.

Trey Kay +,Dec. 21, 2023

Us & Them: 2023 Had Some Serious Trust Issues

As we close out 2023, we look ahead to a new year with a landscape partially defined by fear and mistrust. Many Americans say their confidence is shaken. They feel like every institution — from the government, to the banking system, to corporations, to religion, to the news media — are corrupt. What to do when so many of us can’t trust the institutions that hold our society together?

Trey Kay +,Dec. 13, 2023

Us & Them: Bidding Farewell To My Unlikely Friend, Alice Moore

Sometimes friendships show up when we don’t expect them. That was true of Us & Them host Trey Kay’s friendship with Alice Moore — a conservative Christian county school board member, who sparked a turbulent textbook controversy in Kay’s home county back in the 1970s. Kay and Moore saw education, religion, homosexuality and Trump very differently, but were still dear friends.

Trey Kay +,Nov. 22, 2023

Us & Them: Diminished Trust In Science

Science and research can lead to important breakthroughs, but in a divided America, not everyone trusts the results. In this Us & Them, host Trey Kay speaks with three expert guests before an audience full of curious people at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia and asks: How shaken is our confidence in scientists and the scientific process?

Trey Kay +,Nov. 08, 2023

Us & Them: Potluck & Politics

For the past four years, Trey Kay has gathered a group of West Virginians — four from the political right and four from the left — for the “Us & Them Dinner Party.” The discussion at this year’s gathering focused on former President Trump’s indictments, abortion laws, diminishing public trust and more.

Trey Kay +,Oct. 25, 2023

Us & Them: Diminished Trust In The News Media

We used to trust the news, but now some polls and surveys show that our confidence has eroded. Recently, the Us & Them team partnered with West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media for a conversation on diminished trust in journalism. Host Trey Kay spoke with Raney Aronson-Rath, editor-in-chief and executive producer of PBS Frontline, and June Cross, director of the documentary journalism program at the Columbia Journalism School.

Trey Kay +,Oct. 11, 2023

Us & Them: To Friend Or Unfriend? That Is The Question

Over the past few years, some people have severed their digital lifeline with friends and family because of political differences. With the click of a single button the social media connection is gone. Click – buh-bye! The decision can mean you’re out of touch and cut off from that person’s life. But two childhood friends from Gallipolis, OH — who vote very differently — have committed to doing just the opposite.

Trey Kay +,Sep. 27, 2023

Us & Them: Mental Health Crisis Behind Bars In West Virginia

America stopped institutionalizing people with mental illness decades ago. But now, many are caught up in a system not meant for them. On this episode of Us & Them, we’ll hear what it’s like to live with mental illness behind bars in the Mountain State.

Trey Kay +,Sep. 13, 2023

Trust: East Palestinians Not On The Same Track

In this episode of Us & Them, host Trey Kay hears from residents who face daunting challenges. Some say government agencies are doing their best at ongoing cleanup, while others say delays and inconsistent information leave them uncertain about their safety and unclear about whether they can go home. 

Trey Kay +,Aug. 23, 2023

Us & Them Encore: The Right To Compete

There are new laws in more than 20 states — including West Virginia — that ban transgender girls and women from competing on girls and women’s teams. Transgender athletes say they want to play a sport they love. Some who support the new bans, say the laws are not anti-trans. Instead, they say the goal is to protect girls and women from competing against the biological advantages they believe transgender girls and women have.

Trey Kay +,Aug. 09, 2023

Us & Them Encore: Leaving The White Bubble

Travel is one way to learn — Us & Them host Trey Kay followed a tour group traveling through southern U.S. states to learn some very Black and white lessons.

Trey Kay +,Jul. 26, 2023

Us & Them Encore: Court Of Second Chances?

In West Virginia and many other states, there’s a court of second chances; a court-monitored drug treatment program designed to help people stay clean and out of jail. In this episode of Us & Them, host Trey Kay explores how treatment courts work for adults and juveniles. This episode was first released in December 2022, and since then has received a regional Edward R. Murrow award from the Radio Television Digital News Association for best podcast.

Trey Kay +,Jul. 12, 2023

SNAP: Do The Hungry Get More Policy Than Nutrition?

Hunger and poverty are universal challenges, but in the U.S., for more than 50 years, support programs like SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, have provided help to those in need. On this Us & Them, host Trey Kay talks with three West Virginians — a retiree, a mom and a lawmaker — who all say that nutritional support has made a difference in their lives.

Trey Kay +,Jun. 21, 2023

Us & Them: Who Gets Stuck Behind Bars In West Virginia?

West Virginia’s state prisons and jails are overcrowded and understaffed. About half of those incarcerated are there because they can’t make their bail. Many are poor and a disproportionate number are Black.

Trey Kay +,Jun. 07, 2023

Us & Them: Larry Bellorín’s Unwritten Song

Larry Bellorín is a musician from Venezuela, who is seeking asylum in the U.S. He thought his musical career was in the past until he met Joe Troop, a GRAMMY-nominated musician and North Carolina native who introduced Larry to the folk music and traditions of Appalachia, which seemed quite similar to the joropo he played in Venezuela. Their duo, Larry & Joe, is the realization of a dream for both musicians. It’s also a reminder for Larry of what — and who — he had to leave behind.

Trey Kay +,May. 24, 2023

The ‘Toxic Stew’ Of School Discipline

In schools across the nation, when students of color misbehave, they are disciplined at twice the rate of white students. That means Black and brown students are more likely to face suspension or expulsion. West Virginia lawmakers worry students are not facing the right consequences for their misbehavior. A new state law is designed to make schools safer. In this episode, Us & Them host Trey Kay looks at new approaches to school discipline.

Trey Kay +,May. 10, 2023

A Fiddler Contemplates The Fate Of The Mountain State

West Virginia-born fiddler Phillip Bowen writes songs that reflect love for the place he calls home. His descriptions of the people and places from his childhood touch the ear and heart like a sentimental postcard. But he’s also willing to share songs that remember those who’ve been marginalized or forgotten.

Trey Kay +,Apr. 26, 2023

Us & Them Encore: The Gun Divide

At a time when an alarming number of mass shootings continue to happen all over America, the Us & Them team was recently honored with a first place award for best documentary from Virginias Associated Press Broadcasters. In this report, we explore the foundations of the Second Amendment and the cultural and historical beliefs and myths that contribute to our very American divide over guns.

Trey Kay +,Apr. 12, 2023

Diminishing OB Care In Rural America

For struggling rural hospitals, obstetric and prenatal services tend to be some of the first on the chopping block. Over the past decade, 89 rural hospitals across the country closed their obstetric units. And when medical options shrink — rural families have to make hard decisions about how and where to get care.

Trey Kay +,Mar. 23, 2023

Changing A State’s Mind About Health

According to recent health rankings, West Virginia tops the charts for the rates of obesity and diabetes. More than a decade ago, Huntington, West Virginia made headlines as “the nation’s fattest city.” Since then, some things have changed.

Trey Kay +,Mar. 08, 2023

Compassion Fatigue

Homelessness is not just an issue for big cities like San Francisco or New York City. Across America, communities large and small are struggling to provide shelter to people without housing. In Charleston, West Virginia, government and community approaches to help the unhoused have created more debate on an issue that is already divisive.

Trey Kay +,Feb. 22, 2023

Us & Them: Re-Entry

At least 95 percent of people behind bars will be released. Some say a formerly incarcerated person’s successful re-entry into society requires more focus on rebuilding an individual and less on punishment. Criminal justice reform efforts also address a victim-centered approach, but some believe that fundamental change might require addressing past trauma of victims as well as the perpetrators of crimes.

Trey Kay,Feb. 09, 2023

The Fight For The Youth Vote

Nothing divides Americans like politics. At the same time, young people are showing up to vote. Recent voting trends also show the number of young people engaging in conservative politics is on the rise.

Trey Kay +,Jan. 26, 2023

The Housing Struggle

America’s housing shortage has some people worried about where they’ll call home. For this Us & Them episode, we look at the housing struggle in urban West Philadelphia and rural West Virginia. Affordable housing is tough for some Americans now that pandemic relief programs are gone and eviction and foreclosure moratoriums have expired.

Trey Kay +,Jan. 06, 2023

Finding Your Family

For hundreds of thousands of young Americans, international adoption creates a complex cultural legacy. For this Us & Them episode, host Trey Kay speaks with his long-time producer Laurie Stern about her family’s experience in adopting a son from Guatemala.

Trey Kay +,Dec. 19, 2022

2023: Where Do We Go From Here?

On this episode of Us & Them, we’re taking stock of where the nation stands. In the waning days of 2022 — a year with lots of big political news and some very disturbing events — Us & Them host Trey Kay has been asking people “How’s America doing?” Featured in this program are author and historian David Greenberg, law professor Lisa Pruitt and Henry Cisneros, who served in President Bill Clinton’s cabinet as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Trey Kay +,Dec. 07, 2022

Court Of Second Chances?

In West Virginia and many other states, there’s a court of second chances. It’s a court-monitored drug treatment program designed to help people stay clean and out of jail. In this episode of Us & Them, host Trey Kay speaks with West Virginia Circuit Court Judges Joanna Tabit and Gregory Howard and Sheila Vakharia, deputy director of the Department of Research and Academic Engagement at the Drug Policy Alliance. He asks: How do these treatment courts work for adults and juveniles?

Trey Kay,Nov. 21, 2022

Reimagining A Region

For this episode, the Us & Them team and USC's Civic Imagination Project head to the economically challenged Upper Kanawha Valley to hear people from diverse backgrounds consider what their future could look like.

Trey Kay,Nov. 09, 2022

Us & Them: Post-Roe Mountain State

The landscape of abortion law is changing. On this episode of Us & Them, we consider what will happen in West Virginia in a post-Roe world?

Trey Kay,Oct. 26, 2022

Please Pass The Politics

In the run-up to the 2022 Midterm Elections, the Us & Them dinner party crew finally met face to face! They disagree on many things, including the 2020 Election and January 6. It’s not a surprise that there was plenty of conversation about the Supreme Court’s ruling over abortion access. After 2 years of COVID-19 social distance, the crew gathered like a family around one table, breaking bread, talking politics and trying to understand their differences.

Trey Kay,Oct. 05, 2022

Manchin Is Us & Them

For decades, Joe Manchin has defined and redefined politics in West Virginia. For this episode, Us & Them host Trey Kay asks West Virginia progressives: How is Joe Manchin’s reputation shaping his future and the country’s?

Trey Kay,Sep. 21, 2022

Manchin In The Middle

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin may frustrate some in his own party, but his positions get him votes at home from registered Republicans. However, some say he’s not conservative enough to win re-election to his Senate seat in 2024. Manchin represents one of the most powerful factions in American politics — the middle. How far can that take him?

Trey Kay,Sep. 07, 2022

Do We Have A Hearing Problem?

The January 6th Hearings offer a continuing look into the 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol. But plenty of people are just not interested. On this episode of Us & Them — who’s watching the hearings, who’s not and why?

Trey Kay,Aug. 24, 2022

Us & Them Encore: Blair Mountain

The battle of Blair Mountain in 1921 might be West Virginia's ultimate ‘us and them’ story — labor versus absentee landowners; working class versus ruling class; West Virginia versus the world. This Us & Them episode was honored with an award from The Virginias Associated Press Broadcasters.

Trey Kay +,Aug. 10, 2022

The Dental Gap

"Those Who Lack Good Oral Health Face Far More Than A Toothless Hillbilly Stereotype" — this episode was recently honored with a regional award from the Associated Press of the Virginias. The first place honor was for best documentary.

Trey Kay +,Jul. 27, 2022

The Right To Compete

There are new laws in more than a dozen states — including West Virginia — that ban transgender girls and women from competing on girls and womens teams. Transgender athletes say they want to play a sport they love. Some who support the new bans, say the laws are not anti-trans. Instead, they say the goal is to protect girls and women from competing against the biological advantages they believe transgender girls and women have.

Trey Kay +,Jul. 13, 2022

Kingwood March Exposed A Raw Seam Of Rage

This episode about a Black Lives Matter march in the tiny town of Kingwood was recently honored with a 2022 Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The Kingwood BLM Rally set up a flash point. Black protestors and their allies faced off with heavily-armed white people who say Kingwood has no race problem. The event exposed the raw seam of rage that’s come to define racism in this country. In this episode, host Trey Kay speaks with West Virginia Del. Danielle Walker, who is pushing back at the fear and outrage of racial hatred in America.

Trey Kay,Jun. 22, 2022

The Global Vaccine Paradigm Shifts

This Us & Them episode offers an update on global COVID vaccination efforts. Nearly 67 percent of U.S. citizens are fully vaccinated. Now, the effort shifts to providing vaccine to the world — even in places where logistics are complex. There are still more than a dozen countries with COVID vaccination rates at less than 10 percent. Now that vaccine supply is more plentiful, some look to the future and ways that we can learn from this experience.

Trey Kay,Jun. 08, 2022

Health Care Professionals Fight COVID Disinformation On Social Media Battlefield

Some doctors and nurses are taking their COVID care beyond the bedside. They’re using social media to share medical information and to push back against rumors and fear. For this Us & Them episode, host Trey Kay speaks with medical professionals who are using social media to enhance their approach to COVID care.

Trey Kay +,May. 25, 2022

Us & Them: The Gun Divide

We explore the foundations of the Second Amendment and the cultural and historical beliefs and myths that contribute to our very American divide over guns.

Trey Kay,May. 12, 2022

Use Of A Weedkilling Herbicide Has Stoked An ‘Us & Them’ Divide In Arkansas

A weedkiller called dicamba has caused a split in otherwise tight-knit farm communities. In Arkansas, where initially there had been tight restrictions over its use, some farmers successfully pushed to expand its use. Yet others claim that the weedkiller may be damaging the habitat of the “Natural State.”

Trey Kay,Apr. 28, 2022

Us & Them: Hearing COVID Perspectives Along The ‘Trust Continuum’

There’s a broad spectrum of trust when it comes to information about COVID and vaccinations. Some say they want an honest conversation about risks and rewards, but aren’t hearing it. Healthcare experts say the pandemic has presented a range of moving targets. They recognize the challenge people face looking for information. For this episode, host Trey Kay speaks to people at different stations on the broad range of the trust continuum.

Trey Kay,Apr. 14, 2022

Us & Them: Educators Worry About Pushback Against Racial, Gender Studies In America's Schools

The debate over curriculum choices and classroom materials has emerged again across the nation as a major topic of division. Some say educators should decide what’s appropriate for students, while others advocate for more “parental choice.” Some parents in communities across the country are calling for some books to be banned from public schools.

Trey Kay,Mar. 23, 2022

Us & Them: Can We Have A Hard Conversation About Race In America’s Classrooms?

The story of who we are as a nation is being challenged. Examining America’s racial history is not easy and not welcomed by everyone.

Trey Kay,Mar. 10, 2022

Us & Them: HBCUs Surround Students With Black Excellence While Aiming For A Global Experience

Born from an era of segregated educational opportunities when Black students were not welcome at predominantly white schools, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have been focused on surrounding students with Black excellence. Today, HBCUs are no longer…

Trey Kay,Feb. 24, 2022

Changing People’s Hearts and Minds About Vaccinations

The public health campaign to sell people on COVID-19 vaccinations is more than a year old, but its success is limited. The latest strain of the virus shows that unvaccinated people are significantly more likely to contract the omicron variant, resulting in higher rates of hos…

Trey Kay,Feb. 10, 2022

No Justice In Augusta: Remembering A Little Known Race Riot

We can document almost everything around us with devices of all kinds, but in 1970, there were few cameras around when police opened fire on crowds in Augusta, Georgia. A protest-turned-riot over the brutal murder of a Black teenager left six Black men dead from police …

Trey Kay,Jan. 27, 2022

Can Early Trauma Last A Lifetime?

A social movement has been gaining steam in the past decade as we’ve learned more about the way trauma can affect our physical and psychological health. A study more than twenty years ago, first came up with a way to assess the impact of childhood neglect, abuse and f…

Trey Kay,Jan. 13, 2022

'America First' Vaccination Policy?

The coronavirus pandemic continues to prove just how interconnected the world is. Now, a new COVID strain called “omicron,” shows the potential downside of our global vaccination approach. As people in the U.S and Europe line up for booster shots, low vaccination ra…

Trey Kay,Dec. 21, 2021

Vaccination Pushback: COVID Skepticism Hits Local Leaders Hard

Masks and vaccines continue to trigger Us & Them divides across the nation. As statewide public health mandates have dwindled, public health choices increasingly fall to local government officials – city, county and school board leaders. Many say the mask and…

Trey Kay +,Dec. 09, 2021

Journey Along the Civil Rights Trail Gives White Travelers a Unique Perspective of America's Race History

Travel is an activity some people use as a classroom. Leaving the familiar lets us learn about culture, history, the environment and many other topics. Recently, a small group spent six days traveling America’s southern states to learn about the country’s racial past and the…

Trey Kay,Nov. 23, 2021

Is It Possible To Talk Politics At The Dinner Table?

It’s another Thanksgiving with COVID-19, but this time, vaccinations allow many Americans to gather together and share a hug and a meal. Us & Them host Trey Kay invites his ‘virtual dinner party’ guests back for an anniversary. It’s a tradition we began last…

Trey Kay,Nov. 11, 2021

Us & Them Talks With Medal Of Honor Recipient Woody Williams

Us & Them host Trey Kay honors Veterans Day with a remarkable conversation with the last surviving World War ll U.S. Marine recipient of the Medal of Honor. Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams grew up as a farm kid in the Mountain State and enlisted in the Marine Cor…

Trey Kay,Oct. 28, 2021

West Virginia Joining 42 Other States That Offer Charter Schools

West Virginia is now the 42nd state to introduce public charter schools as an educational choice for parents and students. A new state law allows for the creation of 10 charter schools over the next three years. That can include two virtual charter schools. A state authorizing…

Trey Kay,Oct. 06, 2021

Immigrant Children Fighting for the Right to Learn and the American Dream

America is seen as a land of opportunities and education for all, but a group of young refugees in Pennsylvania had to challenge the local school district to access their schooling.Lancaster, Pennsylvania, school officials first said the six refugees, aged 17 to 21, wer…

Trey Kay,Sep. 22, 2021

Us & Them Explores Juvenile Justice Divides

Every year West Virginia children are taken into state custody. Sometimes, a case involves parental neglect or drug abuse. Other times, kids commit crimes and are placed in juvenile residential facilities. The juvenile justice programs and agencies have been under a spo…

Trey Kay,Sep. 09, 2021

Us & Them: Blair Mountain

One hundred years ago, West Virginia was home to our nation’s most violent labor uprising.For some, the Battle of Blair Mountain was a watershed moment when coal workers decided their rights were worth fighting and even dying for. The armed insurrection pitted 10,000 …

Trey Kay,Aug. 26, 2021

Grandfamilies of the Opioid Crisis

WVPB’s Us & Them introduces us to an unusual cultural divide, one that exists within families. It’s a generation split that comes when chemical addiction prevents parents from raising their children. Millions of U.S. households have become “grandfamilies,” a new ki…

Trey Kay,Aug. 12, 2021

Hillers & Creekers

Our cultural divides start early in America – some even in childhood.As kids, we learn where we come from and where we belong. Those divisions can really run deep. When Us & Them host Trey Kay was a kid at George Washington High School in Charleston, West Vir…

Trey Kay +,Jul. 22, 2021

Us & Them: The Stigma of Sobriety

America has faced a pandemic, a polarizing election and racial equity battles in the past year. But there’s been another crisis continuing to fester — the opioid epidemic. Deaths are up with more than 1,200 West Virginians dying from overdoses last year. The fight for sobr…

Trey Kay,Jul. 08, 2021

'If They Can't Dance, We're Not Going To Play'

Fifty years ago, a band of Black musicians stood up to racism and now they’ve been honored for that action. Bass player John Smith is the surviving member of “The In Crowd,” a Charleston, West Virginia band that played popular tunes in the 1960s. One night at the …

Trey Kay,Jun. 24, 2021

Who’ll Care For West Virginia's Growing Elder Generation?

We’re an aging nation. Today 16 percent of Americans are over age 65. In the next few decades that will double as the youngest Baby Boomers move into old age, but in West Virginia, that future is now. It’s the third oldest state in the nation and more than 20 percen…

Trey Kay,Jun. 09, 2021

Those Who Lack Good Oral Health Face Far More Than A Toothless Hillbilly Stereotype

Many West Virginians have trouble with their teeth. In fact, there’s a big gap between folks who can reliably access an affordable dentist and those who can’t. That’s no surprise when half the state’s counties have fewer than six dentists. A recent national ranking sho…

Trey Kay,May. 27, 2021

Us & Them: Reconnecting West Virginia's Disconnected Youth

There are so many young people in the U.S. who are not in school, working, or training for work, that there’s a name for it. They are disconnected youth and West Virginia has one of the highest rates in the nation — 17 percent. It’s a tough group to track down bec…

Trey Kay,May. 05, 2021

West Virginia Struggles To Reinvent Itself As A Start-Up State To Attract And Retain Young Professionals

West Virginia has trouble keeping people. In the past decade the state has lost more than three percent of its population. There were more deaths in the state than births, and more people left the state than moved in. It leaves a lot of people wondering what the future of the …

Trey Kay,Apr. 22, 2021

Us & Them: When Will We Trust Again?

Our country is seeing a new flavor of partisanship. We practice a tribalism that’s so intense and personal, it defines much of our life. Who we call friends. Which family members we relate to. Even, how we cast our vote. What drives the divisions between us? …

Trey Kay,Apr. 12, 2021

Despite A Decade Of Promises, Fixing Our Digital Divide Is As Slow As Country Dial Up

The pandemic has taught us the value of the internet; for work, school, even to order the essentials of life. The past year has also exposed the brutal realities of the digital divide. Access to reliable, fast internet is essential for city and country dwellers. In this episod…

Trey Kay,Mar. 25, 2021

Us & Them: We've Lost, We've Learned In The Year Of COVID-19

It’s been a year since the coronavirus started a global pandemic. A third of Americans now know someone who has died from COVID-19. The virus has forced daily decisions to stay healthy and safe. We’ve accepted a level of isolation into our lives – distancing from people an…

Trey Kay,Mar. 10, 2021

Fatal Overdoses: Pandemic Is Especially Deadly For West Virginians Battling Addictions

The COVID-19 vaccine continues to roll out but there’s no obvious fix for other long term medical consequences of the pandemic. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the deadliest year ever for overdose …

Trey Kay,Feb. 25, 2021

COVID-19 Exposes Racial Inequities

COVID-19 numbers show the pandemic has hit Black and Brown people hard. The coronavirus is about three times more likely to put African-American and Latino people in the hospital and they are twice as likely than whites to die from COVID. The reasons for this disparity are as …

Trey Kay,Feb. 09, 2021

Us & Them: Grandfamilies and the Pandemic

Older people are the most vulnerable to COVID-19. That’s a challenge when people in their 60s, 70s and 80s are full time caretakers for grandkids. The opioid epidemic has made more than 2.5 million children nationally part of a ‘Grandfamiliy,’ a household headed b…

Trey Kay,Feb. 02, 2021

Us & Them: Clarity on COVID-19

Us & Them host Trey Kay was invited by The Story Collider podcast to reflect on his “Year in COVID” and what’s helped him get clarity on the whole experience.

Trey Kay,Jan. 27, 2021

Us & Them: Shelter From The Virus

The coronavirus has changed everything. People around the globe have spent nearly a year sheltering at home, adhering to restrictions and requirements to avoid the contagious COVID-19. Imagine what that experience is like for someone who’s homeless. If your only optio…

Trey Kay +,Jan. 13, 2021

Kingwood March Gives A Unique Look At Racism In America

2020 presented new levels of outrage over police killings of Black and Brown people in this nation. Police killed George Floyd and Breonna Taylor which prompted protests, marches and rallies to denounce racially motivated police brutality. A Black Lives Matter march in Kingwood,…

Trey Kay,Dec. 31, 2020

"Muddling Through" 2020: A Year of Challenge and Adaptation

2020 has required a lot from us all. It’s been a year of challenge and adaptation. Us & Them host Trey Kay recalls the line in a holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” that says, “we’ll have to muddle through somehow.” None of us had an…

Trey Kay,Dec. 17, 2020

Our Sacred Holidays Are Not Immune To COVID-19

This year has tested us in many ways. Restrictions and stay-at-home orders prevent people from sharing familiar traditions and worshiping together. Some say the coronavirus has tested their faith and beliefs. Not only do they mourn those who’ve died, they miss gatheri…

Trey Kay,Dec. 09, 2020

Us & Them: Dessert & Dialogue

2021 will offer us all some new beginnings. Political leaders take office with the prospect of a COVID vaccine on the horizon.However, millions of people are reeling from the economic consequences of the pandemic. Millions more are angry over the election outcome. How d…

Trey Kay,Nov. 23, 2020

Pandemic Affecting Our Traditions For Connecting

This is a season when many people turn to family, friends and food. As we enter the end-of-the-year holidays, group celebrations are discouraged to reduce COVID-19 infections. We are in uncertain times, dealing with many things that are out of our control. A contentious…

Trey Kay,Nov. 11, 2020

Forced Apart: Can Our Economy Rebound Without Safe, Reliable Child Care?

The coronavirus has divided the world’s workforce into some new categories. White collar workers are remote employees who can do their jobs from home. Blue collar workers are often essential, front-line workers who must show up on the job to keep the supply chain and service…

Trey Kay,Nov. 05, 2020

Us & Them: Let Us 'Bind Up The Nation's Wounds'

The 2020 presidential election has offered a host of unexpected twists and turns. The candidate’s varied approaches to campaigning during a pandemic. The president’s own COVID diagnosis. The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and a fast confirmation process…

Trey Kay,Oct. 22, 2020

Us & Them: Breaking Bread, Talking Politics

Keep politics away from the dinner table! This year’s contentious campaign season offers fresh reasons for that advice. But Us & Them host Trey Kay decided to host a virtual dinner party with guests whose politics reach across the divides. They came to the …

Trey Kay,Oct. 07, 2020

Us & Them: Working Man vs. The Political Machine

The 2020 political campaigns are in high gear and the elections are just weeks away. This year, one West Virginia man watches from the sidelines, knowing what it’s like to put on a statewide campaign. Four years ago, Bo Copley was an unemployed miner who got the chanc…

Trey Kay,Sep. 24, 2020

Forced Apart: An Ailing Economy — Is Workforce Training The Cure?

The coronavirus has created an economic nightmare.About a million jobs have disappeared in six months and more layoffs are likely this fall. In West Virginia, the pandemic doubled the state’s unemployment rate. That means 75,000 West Virginians are looking …

Trey Kay,Sep. 09, 2020

Woman Walks Away From Her Life As A White Supremacist

Black and Brown people in America continue to die at the hands of police officers and that’s created a season of hate. George Floyd’s killing ignited a sense of racial outrage that has spread around the world. U.S. cities continue to see protests against police brutality and…

Trey Kay,Aug. 27, 2020

Us & Them: Just How Healthy Is West Virginia's Health Care System?

The coronavirus confronts every aspect of our society — with our health care systems front and center in the crosshairs. When hospitals canceled nonessential medical procedures at the beginning of the pandemic, it created an economic free fall.  U.S. hospitals have lost…

Trey Kay,Aug. 05, 2020

The Vaccination Divide

The race is on to develop a vaccination that can bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic. Researchers around the world are working on an immunization to slow or stop the outbreak. As that effort ramps up, there’s clear evidence that childhood vaccination rates for existing …

Trey Kay,Jul. 22, 2020

A Decade After Millions Of Opioid Pills Hit Kermit, W.Va., Can The Town Rebound?

At the peak of the opioid crisis, drug companies sent 12 million hydrocodone pills to Kermit, W.Va., a town of about 350 people. Cars would line up at the one pharmacy with people waiting to pick up pain pills. The so-called pain clinics of a decade ago are gone. In their plac…

Trey Kay,Jul. 09, 2020

Forced Apart: Quarantine and the Danger of Eating Disorders

COVID-19 forces big changes in our society and for our medical systems. When patients with mental health conditions are forced to stay at home isolated,…

Trey Kay,Jun. 25, 2020

Forced Apart: Shadow Pandemic

COVID-19 has forced millions to stay at home for months. Isolation can feed anxiety and depression and now tens of millions of Americans say that potent combination threatens their mental health. …

Trey Kay,Jun. 11, 2020

COVID-19 Takes A Toll On Our Food Supply

The coronavirus highlights many of our vulnerabilities, including the system we use to get food from the farm to the table.  Lately, the pandemic has forced U.S. farmers to face the unthinkable. They plowed under perfectly good vegetables when schools and restaurants shut…

Trey Kay,Jun. 04, 2020

Coronavirus Czar Says Pandemic Is A Stress Test For W.Va. Health Care

It’s been about 10 weeks since the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the country, including West Virginia. While state officials are now reopening businesses, the pandemic is far from over. Seventy-eight West Virginians have died due to COVID-19. Unemployment claims hav…

Trey Kay,May. 28, 2020

Forced Apart: Same Pandemic, Unequal Education

West Virginia’s 2020 school year, from kindergarten through college, is wrapping up unlike any other.  In recent years, Mountain State communities have been devastated by man-made crises and natural disasters, but nothing has affected the state’s education system like…

Trey Kay,May. 13, 2020

The Legacy Of The Upper Big Branch Disaster

Ten years ago, the Upper Big Branch Mine exploded in West Virginia. Twenty-nine men died and an investigation uncovered that a legacy of overlooked safety measures contributed to the disaster. A new play called “Coal Country” focuses on the stories of the men and thei…

Trey Kay +,Apr. 30, 2020

Nurse Eva Travels To A COVID-19 Front Line

The coronavirus pandemic prompts many reactions from people. Some people can be overwhelmed with fear and anxiety. Others step up to help where they can. Us & Them host Trey Kay splits his time livi…

Trey Kay,Apr. 23, 2020

Forced Apart: A Virus Creates New Divides

A global public health crisis in the form of an invisible virus, now officially divides us from each other. We’ve learned to call it ‘social distancing.’ But the coronavirus is creating or reopening many layers between us and them. There are divides between worker…

Trey Kay,Apr. 08, 2020

Us & Them: The Connector

In many cities and towns, there are people in charge, and there are people who get things done. Joe Slack is an instigator for community change in West Virginia’s Upper Kanawha Valley. He sees the needs in his region, one that’s been hit hard by one economic disappointment…

Trey Kay,Mar. 20, 2020

Trey Kay Presents a TEDx Talk at Marshall about “Bridging the Divide Between Us & Them”

Trey Kay, host of WVPB’s program Us & Them, was a part of Marshall University’s 2nd annual TEDxMarshallU event on Saturday, March 14.  The theme of th…

Trey Kay,Mar. 11, 2020

Without A Home Can You Be A Good Neighbor?

Homelessness is one of the things that divides us in America. It’s an Us & Them issue that can spring from, and inform our views on other social topics. The number of homeless people nationally has dropped in the past decade, but there was an increase between 2017 and 2018…

Trey Kay,Feb. 27, 2020

Grandfamilies Of The Opioid Crisis

Chemical addictions and the opioid crisis have divided millions of U.S. families. An addicted parent can abandon responsibilities to their children. When a grandparent steps in to help, it creates a new kind of family structure. Some call it a grandfamily. Addictions can creat…

Trey Kay +,Jan. 23, 2020

Us & Them: Should History Be Set In Stone?

When we learn our history, we see things that reflect our past. Paintings of famous battles and statues of men who were heroes to some. But how we interpret our legacy changes. Time can warp our notion of a once righteous cause. There are examples around the world of ways we hav…

Trey Kay,Dec. 26, 2019

Us & Them: Music With A Message

Music can entertain and inspire and serve as a way to share another person’s truth. This episode, Us & Them talks with two musicians, each with roots in Appalachia, whose work offers their view of the world. …

Trey Kay,Nov. 27, 2019

Us & Them: Abortion Divides

Do you disagree with any of your close friends or family members about abortion? When’s the last time you actually talked about it? For many of us, the abortion debate defines Us & Them and sometimes, we feel it better to avoid the subject altogether.Recently, sev…

Trey Kay,Nov. 07, 2019

Us & Them: The Bond Buster Says ‘No’ to Public Schools

Paying taxes is one of those things we just can’t avoid… except for the local tax measures we get to vote on. One of the best examples is school spending. When local school officials ask for additional money for new academic programs or school buildings, taxpayers must app…

Trey Kay,Oct. 09, 2019

Losing It All: Natural Disasters and America’s Immigrant Worker

We’re in the midst of the 2019 hurricane season, and people in the Bahamas are still digging out from Hurricane Dorian. In 2018 hurricane Florence hit the coast of North Carolina, which left 51 people dead and caused $24 billion in damage in the state. Dis…

Trey Kay,Sep. 23, 2019

Us & Them Update: Killer Of James Means Changes His Mind…Again

The Us & Them team has tracked the case of James Means – a 15-year-old boy who William Pulliam shot and killed in Charleston, W.Va., in November 2016. The case got national attention partly because Pulliam is white and Means was black. It was one of a number of shootings t…

Trey Kay,Aug. 14, 2019

Update: Killer of James Means Seeks to Have Plea Deal Revoked

Last week, William Pulliam — a 65-year-old Charleston, West Virginia man — agreed to plead guilty to second degree murder. He was originally charged with first degree murder for killing an African-American teenager named James Means. On Tuesday, the judge received a letter f…

Trey Kay,Aug. 09, 2019

What, Us Worry?: Life After MAD

MAD Magazine, once the touchstone of American satire and snark, is winding down its publication after 67 years. Trey says, as a kid, MAD’s adolescent-focused, subversive content helped him connect with his inner “wise ass.” It made him feel smarter and stupider at the same …

Trey Kay,Aug. 07, 2019

Update: Justice for James Means

For nearly three years, the Us & Them team has followed the James Means’ case – a 15-year-old boy who was shot and killed  in Charleston, WV, by William Pulliam, who was 62 years old at the time. The case got national attention partly because Pulliam is white and Me…

Trey Kay +,Jul. 25, 2019

My Friend From Camp

Two men, one a British citizen of Pakistani heritage, and the other a former housing police officer in the Boston area, were unlikely to meet, until the terror attacks of September 11th, 2001. But after the Bush Administration launched the War on Terror, Moazzam Begg was det…

Trey Kay,Jun. 26, 2019

Pride in the Mountain State

It’s Gay Pride month across the country and a celebration of increasing tolerance and rights for the LGBTQ community. Attitudes have changed in many places, including the Mountain State – where more than 50 percent of residents believe the Bible is the word of God. Trey produc…

Trey Kay,May. 22, 2019

Farm Wars

America’s trade war with China is fueling a long-running battle over weedkillers in American farm fields. It’s a tough time to be an American farmer — especially if you grow soybean. They are a $40 billion business in the U.S., but the price of soybeans plummeted last year bec…

Trey Kay,May. 08, 2019

Still Waiting For Justice

For the past two and a half years, a first-degree murder case has worked its way through the courts in Charleston. A 15-year-old boy, James Means, was shot and killed in the city’s East End back in 2016.An older white man named William Pulliam is charged with the…

Trey Kay,Apr. 01, 2019

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 prote…

Trey Kay,Mar. 13, 2019

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 ar…

Trey Kay,Feb. 27, 2019

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.

Trey Kay,Nov. 21, 2018

The Great Textbook War

In 1974, a fierce controversy erupted over some newly adopted school textbooks in Kanawha County, West Virginia. School buildings were hit by dynamite and Molotov cocktails, buses were riddled with bullets, journalists were beaten and surrounding coal mines were shut down by prot…

Trey Kay,Oct. 26, 2018

Immigration issue stays hot in midterm elections, especially in red states

The migrant caravan moving through Mexico is nowhere near the U.S. border, yet it’s smack dab in the middle of the nation’s politics.But immigration pushes different political buttons in West Virginia and California.As we draw near the midterm election, …

Trey Kay +,Oct. 10, 2018

Us & Them: Rural Voters — You Can't Ignore Us

Why did rural Americans love Donald Trump so much in 2016? Some say they’ve felt left out of the economic recovery. Others say the culture is changing in ways that makes rural people feel uncomfortable. Others say it was simply because Trump made rural people feel lik…

Trey Kay,Aug. 29, 2018

Us & Them: Shack!

If it seems football has, perhaps unwillingly, become a platform for civil rights issues, well, keep it mind that didn’t start with Colin Kapernick but with James “Shack” Harris, the first African American to be named in a starting quarterback in the NFL.The start of the…

Trey Kay,Jun. 07, 2018

Us & Them: Revisiting the Grand Palace

Trey Kay has observed how things have changed significantly for LGBTQ people where he lives in New York. But he’s not sure if anything’s changed in a more conservative place like West Virginia, where he grew up. A recent Pew survey shows that more than half of West Virginians…

Trey Kay,Feb. 14, 2018

Us & Them: The Talk

Despite all the fuss about sex education in America, students get precious little of it. Jonathan Zimmerman, an education historian, tells Trey how Americans spend more time arguing about what kids should learn about human sexuality in schools than they actually do teaching anyth…

Trey Kay,Jan. 04, 2018

Us & Them : A New Year, A Reprise, Amazing Grace

Just a few weeks ago, a listener wrote in to tell us that she “love, love, loved” our Amazing Grace episode. I actually know this listener; she grew up…

Trey Kay,Dec. 07, 2017

Us & Them : His Name's DJ

We revisit the story of “Steve,” a young New Hampshire man that we met back in the spring of 2016. In our episode called “The Changing Face of Heroin,” we followed him and his father as he reported for the last visit of a court ordered drug rehab program. As you can im…

Trey Kay,Nov. 08, 2017

Us & Them: The Church Lady

I speak with journalist Linda K. Wertheimer, the author of Faith Ed: Teaching About Religion In an Age of Intolerance. In her book, she has a chapter titled “The Church Lady,” where she recounts her experience of her family moving from western New York to a town in Ohi…

Trey Kay,Oct. 25, 2017

Us & Them: Community and Cops Talking Across the Divide

High-profile confrontations between African-Americans and police officers have fueled tensions across the country. West Virginia is NOT a place where people are comfortable talking about the…

Trey Kay,Oct. 12, 2017

Us & Them: A Policeman is a Person in Your Neigh-bor-hood!

Two rivers run through Charleston, West Virginia. While most of the city is situated on the Kanawha, it’s the Elk River that demarcates the West Side from the governmental and business center of Charleston. Today, the West Side is the poorest neighborhood in Ch…

Trey Kay,Sep. 28, 2017

Us & Them: Shack! A Civil Rights Story

At a time when the President of the United States questions the patriotism of African American football players protesting social injustice, we present the civil rights struggle of another A…

Trey Kay +,Sep. 12, 2017

Us & Them: Two Tales of Coal

The “Us & Them” podcast is about seeing the same story two ways… and nothing calls out for that treatment more than coal in West Virginia. On this week’s episode of the “…

Trey Kay,Aug. 23, 2017

Us & Them: 'You're Either a Hiller or a Creeker'

In most schools, you’re likely to find yourself labeled as a jock, theater geek, stoner or even a loner.But at my alma mater in West Virginia, we had a unique “…

Trey Kay,Aug. 21, 2017

Us & Them: Confederate Reckoning… When Will the Civil War End?

The tragedy in Charlottesville, VA makes us wonder if it’s possible to reconcile different versions of history. This episode features two American foreign correspondents of color who’ve …

Trey Kay,Aug. 03, 2017

Us & Them: Remembering New Math & Common Core

When conservatives and liberals fight about school curriculum, the disagreements aren’t just about science and history. Even math has been a battleground in the culture wars. On this week’s episode of the “Us & Them” podcast: how America approache…

Trey Kay,Jul. 19, 2017

Us & Them: Deanna, Tymel & Amarie

Sunday dinner is a big deal in Deanna McKinney’s family. Deanna’s a de facto mom to her three sisters and two brothers — when she moved to West Virginia from New York City, they came too.  These Sunday dinners are to remind the siblings that someone’s always got th…

Trey Kay,Jul. 13, 2017

Us & Them: Amazing Grace

Everyone knows the song “Amazing Grace.” People who don’t even consider themselves spiritual or religious find it meaningful. And while John Newton penned the hymn to connect with Christians, it has transcended that and become a folk song and an anthem for civil rights. But …

Trey Kay,Jun. 21, 2017

Us & Them: Sodomy, Stonewall & Pride

Not that long ago, you could get locked up for being gay. A West Virginia man tells “Us & Them” host Trey Kay about being sent to a mental institution for violating sodomy laws. Standing in front of the historic Stonewall Inn in NYC’s Greenwich Village, gay a…

Trey Kay,Jun. 01, 2017

Us & Them: The Elephant in the (Class) Room

We’re at the end of graduation season. Over the past few weeks, young grads donned in hard-earned caps and gowns, have gathered on college greens to pose for an endless number of photos with proud family members, fellow co-eds … and professors. Back in 2016, I produ…

Trey Kay,May. 20, 2017

Us & Them: Gentrification (or That Kumbaya Moment)

I’m standing at 3rd Avenue and 8th Street in Brooklyn, NY. Some would call this neighborhood Park Slope, but it’s really a hike from the beautiful Prospect Park, and it’s where things don’t really “slope” anymore. The neighborhood is actually called Gowanus and it…

Trey Kay,Apr. 12, 2017

Us & Them: Reasserting Femme Voice

North Carolina repealed its notorious bathroom law, but not necessarily for the better. Transsexuals remain outside NC’s equal protection laws—whether in the bathroom or in the workplace. All of this has got me thinking about my friend Anne Kelly. Back in the fall of 2014, I…

Trey Kay,Dec. 14, 2016

Us & Them: Serious as a Heart Attack

"I think the only way to have useful conversations across these intense differences is to be able to just tolerate the other person’s position, but not…

Trey Kay,Nov. 16, 2016

Us & Them: Taking an Ass Whoopin'

The 2016 presidential campaign was one of the most brutal in America’s history. “Us & Them” host Trey Kay was stunned by the outcome and is trying understand what the whole thing means. Are truth and bitter reality the new Us? Have our news sources become Them?…

Trey Kay,Apr. 27, 2016

Us & Them: The Changing Face of Heroin

Something has shifted in the way our society thinks about heroin addicts these days. Could it be that smack users are seeming more like “us” and less like “them?” From West Vir…

Trey Kay,Mar. 30, 2016

Us & Them: Heroin — N'ganga Dimitri

In this episode, I reconnect with Dimitri Mugianis, a friend that I met nearly a quarter century ago when we were both playing in the New York City music…

Trey Kay,Sep. 21, 2015

Us & Them: Strangers with Cameras in Appalachia

I grew up in Appalachia.Okay, I didn’t come from the kind of Appalachia that’s often associated with the stereotype of ignorant, welfare check-collecting “hicks” living “up the holler.”  I grew up in Charleston, WV, which is and was much like “Suburba…

Trey Kay,Sep. 08, 2015

Us & Them: New Math

Kind of like the controversial Common Core Curriculum Standards for Mathematics today, “New Math” was the raspberry seed in many people’s dentures back in the ’60s and ’70s. This was a time of sweeping cultural change in the U.S.  Th…

Trey Kay,Aug. 19, 2015

Us & Them: Textbook Watchdogs

In this episode, I dig into one of my favorite culture war subjects: the battles in Texas over education.For years, I’ve had a fascination with the fights Texans have had over education curriculum and textbooks.  This interest started with my research of the 1974…

Trey Kay,Aug. 03, 2015

Us & Them: The Church Lady

For this show, I spoke with journalist Linda K. Wertheimer, the author of Faith Ed: Teaching About Religion In an Age of Intolerance. In her book, she has…

Trey Kay,Jul. 16, 2015

Us & Them: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

For this show, I speak with two men with very different perspectives on science.  They feel so strongly about their opinions that they are willing to put their money where their mouths are.   They each are offering a cash prize to anyone who can disprove their scie…

Trey Kay,Jun. 26, 2015

Us & Them: In Dixieland I'll Take My Stand

In this episode, my friend Alice Moore and I visit a Confederate cemetery in Corinth, Mississippi.  Alice tells me about her love for the battle flag. In our conversation, we soon learn that you can’t talk about the flag without also talking about people’s ideas about t…

Trey Kay,May. 15, 2015

'Us & Them': To Give or Not to Give?

When you see panhandlers on the street, what do you do? Ignore them and walk the other way? Hand them some spare change? And, how do you decide?A lot of people have strong opinions about panhandlers, but are they based in reason or in ideology?…

Trey Kay,May. 01, 2015

'Us & Them' Launches with Four Episodes Highlighting the Cultural Divide

 Americans are as divided as they’ve ever been. A recent Pew Research Center study found that “Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines – and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive – than at any point in the last two decades….

Trey Kay,May. 01, 2015

Trey & Alice

A blue state secular liberal and a red state Christian conservative have an unlikely friendship From West Virginia Public Broadcasting, this is “Us & Them” the podcast where we tell stories from America’s cultural divides. Subscribe to “Us & Them” on …

Trey Kay,Apr. 26, 2015

Us & Them: Can We Bridge the Cultural Divide?

This article was originally published in the Sunday Gazette-Mail.One night in the mid 90s, my wife and I were watching a PBS documentary s…

Trey Kay,Nov. 18, 2014

Rev. Jim Lewis Sees Remarkable Social Change in W. Va.

For decades, the Reverend Jim Lewis has been making headlines in Charleston. He’s an outspoken progressive in a conservative state. He’s known for his efforts to help poor people and his fights against racial injustice — and for his support for gay families. This weekend, Lew…