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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3:16pm

Wed November 26, 2014
Code Switch

How Ferguson Residents Are Giving Thanks This Holiday Season

Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 4:39 pm

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

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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3:08pm

Tue November 25, 2014
Around the Nation

At Vandalized Ferguson Businesses, Anger And Tears

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 9:29 pm

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

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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7:38am

Mon November 24, 2014
Code Switch

'Ferguson Forward': Churchgoers Seek A New Normal

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 4:42 pm

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

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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3:11pm

Mon November 3, 2014
New Boom

Millennials Have Inherited The Black Marriage Gap

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 6:03 am

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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3:34am

Thu October 16, 2014
Race

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

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 12:22 pm

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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2:21pm

Fri September 12, 2014
Men In America

How To Be A 21st Century 'Gentleman'

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 6:40 pm

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

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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5:54am

Sat August 16, 2014
Code Switch

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

Originally published on Sat August 16, 2014 11:56 am

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

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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4:53am

Mon June 30, 2014
Code Switch

'Do The Right Thing' Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 2:22 pm

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

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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2:30pm

Fri June 27, 2014
Men In America

Bathrobes And Baby Carriers: The Stuff Of Manliness?

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 2:26 pm

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

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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2:44pm

Thu June 26, 2014
Sports

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

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 5:10 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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6:01am

Sun June 22, 2014
Health Care

In LA, Barbers Cut Hair And Check Blood Pressure

Originally published on Sun June 22, 2014 10:19 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.

2:13pm

Tue June 10, 2014
Race

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

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 6:31 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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1:39am

Fri May 16, 2014
Code Switch

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

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 8:51 pm

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

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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1:05am

Tue April 1, 2014
Code Switch

Lending Circles Help Latinas Pay Bills And Invest

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 6:50 am

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

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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3:06pm

Fri November 1, 2013
NPR Story

An East L.A. Football Rivalry, Unchanged For 79 Years

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:49 pm

An East Los Angeles rivalry has become the largest high school football game west of the Mississippi. The football teams of Garfield High School and Roosevelt High School will meet on the gridiron Friday night for the 79th year. The game is expected to draw 20,000 fans.

1:08am

Fri October 18, 2013
Code Switch

The Whitest Historically Black College In America

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 3:13 pm

Deirdre Guyton, the school's director of alumni affairs, is proud of Bluefield State College's history and wants to preserve it. Here, she holds up a photo of the school's football team from 1927 to 1928, when it was the best black college team.
Shereen Marisol Meraji NPR

It opened in the late 19th century as the Bluefield Colored Institute, created to educate the children of black coal miners in segregated West Virginia. Although it still receives the federal funding that comes with its designation as a historically black institution, today Bluefield State College is 90 percent white. The road that separates those realities is as rocky as any story of racial transition in post-World War II America.

We went to the campus of Bluefield State to see what campus life was like at this unusual college.

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2:06am

Mon September 16, 2013
Movies

'The Muslims Are Coming!' To Middle America

Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 5:09 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

A group of Muslim comics went on tour through parts of Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, as well as Arizona. Their mission was to help Americans equate Islam with funny, rather than fundamentalist. And that is the topic of a new documentary called, "The Muslims Are Coming."

NPR's Shereen Marisol Meraji met up with the directors.

SHEREEN MARISOL MERAJI, BYLINE: Here's a quick taste of what happens when Muslim comics invade Middle America.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE MUSLIMS ARE COMING")

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12:23pm

Wed August 21, 2013
Code Switch

Summer Of '63: Old Lessons For A New Movement

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 4:38 pm

Participants in the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride sit on a bus that will travel from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., Sept. 23, 2003.
J. Emilio Flores Getty Images

All this summer, NPR is looking back to civil rights activism of 1963, marking the 50th anniversary of a number of events that changed our society. From the assassination of civil rights leader Medgar Evers in Mississippi to the March on Washington; NPR is remembering the past and examining how our society has changed.

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9:59am

Tue August 13, 2013
Code Switch

Latinas Drive Hispanic Purchasing Power In The U.S.

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 11:05 am

Latina pop star Thalía holds a toddler playing a tumbadora during a Pampers promotional event launching Mi Música, Mi Herencia (My Music, My Heritage).
Marc Serota AP

Meet Pamela Maria Wright — the "contemporary Latina consumer." She has two kids — Nico and Rita — whom she hopes will be bilingual, as she is. She's a tech-savvy working professional with a master's degree, but she's also very traditional and family-oriented. (While I was visiting her home, her father showed up for a surprise visit. "How much more Latino can you get?" Wright asked.)

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3:47am

Tue August 13, 2013
Business

Why Modern Latinas Are A Challenge To Marketers

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 5:59 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Hispanic American are an increasingly important consumer demographic to woo. That's according to a new study from the market research firm Nielsen. The report says that most of today's Latinas are the primary decision makers when it comes to household spending.

But marketing to them is a real challenge, as NPR's Shereen Marisol Meraji reports.

SHEREEN MARISOL MERAJI, BYLINE: Welcome to the home of the contemporary Latina consumer.

PAMELA MARIA WRIGHT: Hi.

MERAJI: Hi. How are you?

Good. How are you?

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