Shereen Marisol Meraji

Shereen Marisol Meraji tries to find the humor and humanity in reporting on race for the NPR Code Switch team.

Her stories center on the real people affected by the issues, not just experts and academics studying them. Those stories include a look at why a historically black college in West Virginia is 90 percent white, to a profile of the most powerful and most difficult-to-target consumer group in America: Latinas.

Prior to her time with Code Switch, Meraji worked for the national business and economics radio program Marketplace, from American Public Media. There, she covered stories about the growing wealth gap and poverty in the United States.

Meraji's first job in college involved radio journalism and she hasn't been able to shake her passion for story telling since. The best career advice Meraji ever received was from veteran radio journalist Alex Chadwick, who said, "When you see a herd of reporters chasing the same story, run in the opposite direction." She's invested in multiple pairs of running shoes and is wearing them out reporting for Code Switch.

A graduate of San Francisco State with a BA in Raza Studies, Meraji is a native Californian with family roots in Puerto Rico and Iran.

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Code Switch
4:13 pm
Sun December 7, 2014

Pastor: The Way Forward In Ferguson Is Talk And Prayer

People stand in prayer after marching about a mile to the police station to protest the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in August.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Sun December 7, 2014 5:16 pm

Anger and frustration over two recent cases where unarmed black men were killed by police brought new protests to New York City, Chicago, Washington, Boston, Miami and Cleveland this week.

On a recent Wednesday night in Ferguson, black and white community members are trying a different tactic to create change — a potluck.

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Code Switch
3:41 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

How Ferguson Residents Are Giving Thanks This Holiday Season

Karen Gold paints on a boarded window of her store in Ferguson, Mo.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 5:39 pm

The kickoff to the holiday season in St. Louis has been overshadowed by unrest following the grand jury's decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson. And for some residents of Ferguson, the meaning of this year's Thanksgiving — amid the anger, hostility and unresolved issues — is hazy.

The Schnucks grocery store is pretty busy on this cold, gray Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Michael Howell, a local musician picking up a few staples, says he just wants to relax at home and have a little turkey. Howell's home is right near a string of looted and burned businesses.

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Around the Nation
4:08 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

At Vandalized Ferguson Businesses, Anger And Tears

A worker cleans up glass outside a Quiznos restaurant that was damaged during a demonstration Tuesday in Ferguson, Mo.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 10:29 pm

Residents and business owners in Ferguson, Mo., awoke Tuesday morning to assess the damage done to their neighborhoods. In the aftermath of the grand jury's decision Monday night not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, many business were vandalized and some were destroyed.

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Around the Nation
4:09 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Ferguson Protesters Anxiously Await Grand Jury Decision

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 9:15 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

And now let's bring in NPR's Shereen Meraji. She's outside the police station in Ferguson where protesters have been gathering throughout the evening. Shereen, describe the scene right now.

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Code Switch
8:38 am
Mon November 24, 2014

'Ferguson Forward': Churchgoers Seek A New Normal

Youths walk past a mural depicting peace in Ferguson on a vacant building up the street from the city's police department.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 5:42 pm

I reunited with the Rev. Daryl Meese at his place of worship, a no-frills brick Methodist Church in Ferguson, Mo., on this stormy Sunday morning.

We first met at a coffee shop last August. I was looking for a cool place to file a story about the protests over the death of an unarmed black 18-year-old at the hands of a white police officer; he was taking a break from the chaos. We shared a table and ended up chatting.

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The Changing Lives Of Women
3:17 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

For Modern Women, 'Ladylike' Means Strong And Sporty

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 5:24 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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New Boom
4:11 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Millennials Have Inherited The Black Marriage Gap

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 7:03 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Code Switch
4:08 pm
Sat October 18, 2014

Watching 'Dear White People' At Harvard

Tyler James Williams (Everybody Hates Chris) plays Lionel Higgins in Dear White People
Roadside Attractions

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 12:28 pm

A new movie about race and identity is out in select theaters today. It's called Dear White People, and it's a satire set at a fictitious ivy league college. Or, as the promotional materials say, it's "about being a black face in a white place."

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Race
4:34 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Black Students Gather At Harvard To Watch 'Dear White People'

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 1:22 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Men In America
3:21 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

How To Be A 21st Century 'Gentleman'

If men and women aspire to operate as equals, does a man still pay the bill on a date? Should he hold open a door? Pull out his date's chair?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 7:40 pm

Back in 1967 the rules for dating were fairly clear-cut whether you agreed with them or not. Check out this U.S. Navy instructional video, How to Succeed with Brunettes. (What is UP with that title, anyway?)

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Code Switch
11:35 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Two Miles From Protests, Residents Want Calm To Return To Ferguson

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Code Switch
7:05 am
Sat August 16, 2014

Summer Camp In State Prison: A Chance To Bond With Dad

Hope House campers wear tie-dye shirts they made to the last day of camp at Western Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Md.
Shereen Marisol Meraji NPR

Originally published on Sat August 16, 2014 12:56 pm

On the list of activities for this summer camp: visiting Dad in a maximum security prison. The nonprofit group Hope House runs three camps to keep children connected with incarcerated dads who might not be close to home.

There are also plenty of arts and crafts, mosquito repellent and campfire songs.

Carol Fennelly founded Hope House in 1998, after a Washington, D.C.-area prison was closed, sending thousands of inmates to far-flung institutions. That made it difficult, and sometimes impossible, for relatives to visit.

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Code Switch
4:36 am
Sat July 12, 2014

35 Years After Minnie Riperton's Death, New Fans Still Find Her

Celebrated soul singer Minnie Riperton, shown here in March 1976, passed away in 1979 at the age of 31.
AP

Originally published on Sat July 12, 2014 11:12 am

"There are just some songs you just don't touch because they're done so well, so like, don't even try," says 24-year-old Moses Sumney. "But I'm going to try."

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Code Switch
5:50 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Community Outraged Over Video Showing Officer Beating Woman

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Prosecutors here in Los Angeles are being asked to look into what happened last week when an officer with the California Highway Patrol - the CHP - was caught on video repeatedly punching in African-American woman on the side of a freeway. The video has since gone viral and civil rights activists have called for swift action against the officer. NPR's Shereen Marisol Meraji has more.

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Code Switch
5:53 am
Mon June 30, 2014

'Do The Right Thing' Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary

Spike Lee directed, wrote and starred in "Do the Right Thing." The landmark film prompted a national conversation about racial tension.
Universal The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 3:22 pm

Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing was hotly anticipated when it was released 25 years ago.

The film about racial tension reaches a boiling point on a scorching summer day in Brooklyn. All the action takes place on one block in Bedford-Stuyvesant, one of the poorest neighborhoods in New York City; a block where African-Americans and Puerto Ricans live, Koreans and Italians work and the New York Police Department plays dirty.

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Men In America
3:20 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Bathrobes And Baby Carriers: The Stuff Of Manliness?

David Lee writes an online men's guide to Asian lifestyle and entertainment. He says he voted against a battle-ax and for his bathrobe when choosing a masculine object. The blue terry cloth robe is based on the Adventure Time cartoon.
Courtesy of Salima Koroma

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 3:26 pm

This summer, All Things Considered is looking at the lives of Men in America and how things have changed — or haven't. Part of that is redefining masculinity, so the show asked me to ask guys about the stuff they equate with manliness today. (Submit your own stories in the form below.)

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Sports
3:44 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

A View On The World Cup, Seen From An LA Bar On A Midweek Morning

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 6:10 pm

Fans of the U.S. soccer team gathered across the country to watch Thursday's World Cup match against Germany. More than a thousand people watched the game at Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C., and many others filled Grant Park in Chicago. Meanwhile, NPR's Shereen Marisol Meraji was with fans in Los Angeles, and she offers some of their reactions.

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Code Switch
10:18 am
Sun June 22, 2014

Shape-Up And Checkup: LA Barbers To Start Testing Blood Pressure

Ben Russell iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun June 29, 2014 2:14 pm

Barbershops are a traditional gathering place for African-American men — a place to talk politics, sports and gossip. Now, some doctors in Los Angeles are hoping to make the barbershop a place for combating high blood pressure among black men.

Death rates from hypertension are three times higher in African-American men than in white men of the same age, says Dr. Ronald Victor, the director of Cedars-Sinai Center for Hypertension in Los Angeles.

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Health Care
7:01 am
Sun June 22, 2014

In LA, Barbers Cut Hair And Check Blood Pressure

Originally published on Sun June 22, 2014 11:19 am

A Los Angeles doctor is training barbers to check their customers for high blood pressure. He's targeting the social hubs for black men because of the health risks associated with hypertension.

Code Switch
3:21 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

For These Inner-City Dads, Fatherhood Comes With Homework

Edward Pitchford is a responsible-fatherhood specialist with the Center for Urban Families in Baltimore.
Courtesy of Carde Cornish

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 4:32 pm

About two dozen dads — all African-Americans, ranging in age from their early 20s to late 40s — are standing in a circle participating in a call-and-response exercise:

Call: You done broke them chains.
Response: From my body and my brain!
Call: But you was deaf, dumb and blind.
Response: 'Til I took back my mind!

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Race
3:33 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Honored Puerto Rican Army Unit Made A Name For Itself In Korean War

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 7:31 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

They fought for the U.S. and countered ethnic stereotypes in the process. Today, President Obama honored the Puerto Rican soldiers of the 65th Infantry Regiment. The president signed legislation recognizing the veterans for their military valor. They'll be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal - a distinction given to other segregated military units in the past, such as the Tuskegee Airmen and the Navajo code talkers.

NPR's Shereen Marisol Meraji was at the White House as the president signed the bill.

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Code Switch
2:39 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Before 'Brown V. Board,' Mendez Fought California's Segregated Schools

Sylvia Mendez was a young girl in the 1940s when her parents fought for Latinos to have access to white schools in the California court case Mendez v. Westminster. They won in 1947.
Shereen Marisol Meraji NPR

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 9:51 pm

Sylvia Mendez says the only reason she wanted to go to an all-white school in California's Westminster District in the 1940s was because of its beautiful playground. The school that she and other Latino students were forced to attend didn't have monkey bars or swings.

"I was 9 years old," she says. "I just thought my parents wanted us to go to the nice-looking school."

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Code Switch
9:36 am
Mon May 5, 2014

After Decades, A University By And For Latinos Will Shut Its Doors

The National Hispanic University sits in the shadow of the East San Jose foothills in a working-class Latino neighborhood.
Shereen Marisol Meraji

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 9:34 am

The National Hispanic University was created more than 30 years ago to educate first-generation college students from Latino backgrounds. Next year, the only school of its kind west of the Mississippi will close its doors.

NHU sits in the shadow of the East San Jose foothills in California's Silicon Valley. All the classrooms and faculty offices fit in one modern three-story building in the heart of a working-class Latino neighborhood. But the postwar elementary school right next door used to serve as the institution's hallowed halls.

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Code Switch
8:09 am
Tue April 22, 2014

More Art, Less Tequila In Tijuana On Spring Break

El Norteño says this mural tells the story of a grown man haunted by the bullies from his childhood.
Brenda Delgadillo Canett.

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 5:38 pm

For decades, Southern Californians thought Tijuana was Spanish for "spring break." The streets of TJ used to be packed full of spring breakers pounding shots of tequila and taking drunken photos astride donkeys painted like zebras. That is, well, a thing of the past. The rise in drug violence over the years caused tourism in this border city to plummet. But now tourists are trickling back, and I was recently among them.

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Code Switch
2:05 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Lending Circles Help Latinas Pay Bills And Invest

Alicia Villanueva gives change to a customer at Off the Grid, a weekly street-food market in San Francisco.
Sarah Peet Sarah Peet Photography

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 7:50 am

As part of its Changing Lives of Women series, Morning Edition is exploring women and their relationship with money: saving, purchasing and investing for themselves and their families.

Cuban-American Barb Mayo describes a tanda like this: "It's like a no-interest loan with your friends." Mayo had never heard of tandas growing up, and it wasn't until she started working in sales for a cable company in Southern California that she was introduced to the concept.

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Code Switch
2:37 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

Latin Pride Swells For Mystery Model Behind Oscar Statuette

Hollywood legend has it the Oscar statuette was modeled after Mexican actor and director Emilio Fernandez.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 7:23 pm

The 8-pound, 24-carat-gold-plated statuette that will be handed out at the Academy Awards Sunday night is said to be modeled after a real man.

That man's name is not Oscar.

It might be Emilio, Emilio "El Indio" Fernandez. He was a famous Mexican director and actor who used to live in Hollywood in the 1920s. His nickname, "The Indian," came from the Kickapoo side of his family.

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Race
4:03 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Pop Music Lags In Dealing With Interracial Love Anxieties

They're most likely not listening to a song about cross-cultural love.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun November 16, 2014 2:52 pm

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Code Switch
4:27 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

English Only? For Mainland Puerto Ricans, The Answer Is Often 'Yes'

Shereen Marisol Meraji NPR

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 7:01 pm

Javier Fossas asked me, "Do you speak Spanish?"

It's complicated. I do, but I'm really insecure about my Spanish.

I grew up in California in a Puerto Rican family where English was the dominant language. Adults used Spanish mostly to share secrets or express frustration. So I hate the Spanish question.

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Race
5:32 am
Mon January 6, 2014

The First Latino 'Bachelor' Makes His Debut

Juan Pablo Galavis, a contestant on a past season of "The Bachelorette," stars in the 18th season of "The Bachelor."
Craig Sjodin AP

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 4:04 pm

The Bachelor is back again. Yep — the ABC reality show where a single guy gets to choose a potential wife from a couple dozen women. This season's single guy is Latino. He's the first bachelor-of-color in the show's 11 year history.

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Code Switch
3:43 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Why Chaucer Said 'Ax' Instead Of 'Ask,' And Why Some Still Do

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele talk Ax vs. Ask with NPR's Shereen Marisol Meraji.
Sonari Glinton NPR

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 5:39 pm

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