Hansi Lo Wang

Hansi Lo Wang is a reporter covering race, ethnicity, and culture for NPR's new Code Switch team.

Based in Washington, D.C., he previously served as a production assistant for NPR's Weekend Edition and was awarded the NPR Kroc Fellowship, during which he reported for NPR's National Desk and Seattle public radio station KUOW.

A Philadelphia native, Wang founded a radio reporting program for high school students in Philadelphia's Chinatown in 2008. He has also worked as a refugee housing coordinator.

He graduated with a bachelor's degree in political science from Swarthmore College. As a student, he hosted, produced, and reported for a weekly, student-run program on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a native Chinese speaker of both Mandarin and Cantonese dialects.

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8:12am

Sat April 19, 2014
Code Switch

In Silicon Valley, Immigrants Toast Their Way To The Top

Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 12:18 pm

Engineer Mit Shah gives a speech at a meeting of the "ArtICCulators" Toastmasters Club in Milpitas, Calif.
Hansi Lo Wang NPR

Public speaking can be nerve-wracking whatever your native tongue. It can be especially difficult for immigrants who speak English as a second language.

In California's Silicon Valley, some immigrant tech workers strengthen their voices by joining public speaking support groups like Toastmasters clubs.

Members usually meet once a week to practice giving speeches, which are timed to the second and judged for grammar and presentation. There's even a designated counter of ums and ahs.

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7:58pm

Tue April 1, 2014
Code Switch

The Harlem Hellfighters: Fighting Racism In The Trenches Of WWI

The Harlem Hellfighters, a new graphic novel by Max Brooks, retells the story of the first African-American unit to fight in World War I.
Caanan White Courtesy of Broadway Books

The 369th Infantry Regiment served 191 days under enemy fire in Europe. They returned home one of the most decorated American units of World War I.

"The French called them the 'Men of Bronze' out of respect, and the Germans called them the 'Harlem Hellfighters' out of fear," explains Max Brooks, author of The Harlem Hellfighters, a new graphic novel about the first African-American infantry unit to fight in World War I.

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8:22am

Wed March 12, 2014
Code Switch

Changing Demographics A Factor In Rhode Island's Gubernatorial Race

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 12:06 pm

Two supporters of gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo walk past protesting union members outside a rally at which Raimondo announced her run for the Democratic nomination in Rhode Island in January.
Michael Dwyer AP

Parades, social clubs and awards dinners are part of the routine of political campaigns everywhere. But if you're running to be Rhode Island's next governor, then there's one more stop you just can't miss.

Namely, the makeshift studios of Latino Public Radio, which is housed in a two-story, single-family home complete with a living room, dog and cat.

This local Spanish-language radio station based in Cranston, R.I., was co-founded almost a decade ago by Pablo Rodriguez.

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6:40pm

Wed February 26, 2014
Code Switch

To Play The Part, Actors Must Talk The Talk — In Chinese

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 12:08 pm

Chinese billionaire Xander Feng, played by Terry Chen, shakes hands with Francis Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, in Netflix's House of Cards.
Nathaniel E. Bell Courtesy of Netflix

The success of the Netflix series House of Cards lies in the details.

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7:53pm

Fri February 21, 2014
Code Switch

Asian-American Contestant, 'Villain' Of 'Jeopardy,' Set To Return

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 2:55 pm

Game show contestant Arthur Chu with host Alex Trebek on the set of Jeopardy!
Courtesy of Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

If there are any unwritten rules to playing Jeopardy! Arthur Chu may have broken them all.

During his four-day winning streak in late January, he sometimes interrupted host Alex Trebek and cut in before the host could finish a sentence. He often jumped to the hardest clues on the board first and furiously tapped his buzzer whenever he knew the answer.

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8:07pm

Thu February 20, 2014
Code Switch

For Abused Native American Women, New Law Provides A 'Ray Of Hope'

Deborah Parker, vice chair of the Tulalip Tribes of Washington state, reacts to President Barack Obama signing the Violence Against Women Act in 2013 in Washington.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

This Thursday, three Native American tribes are changing how they administer justice.

For almost four decades, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling has barred tribes from prosecuting non-American Indian defendants. But as part of last year's re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act, a new program now allows tribes to try some non-Indian defendants in domestic abuse cases.

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12:55pm

Wed February 19, 2014
Code Switch

After Tour, Medal For WWII Japanese-American Soldiers Returns Home

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team, shown here in a 1944 photo taken in France, returned home from World War II as one of the most decorated U.S. military units.
Courtesy of National Archives

11:53am

Sat February 15, 2014
Code Switch

Walking Down The Widening Aisle Of Interracial Marriages

Originally published on Sat February 15, 2014 1:13 pm

Kelly Mottershead and Louie Okamoto held a beach party last October for their wedding ceremony in Carmel, Calif.
Dana Barsuhn Courtesy of Louie Okamoto

Editor's Note: Code Switch has been engaged in a month-long exploration of romance across racial and cultural lines. Follow the Twitter conversation via the hashtag #xculturelove.

The numbers are small but growing.

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2:39pm

Thu February 13, 2014
Code Switch

National Puerto Rican Day Parade Reorganizes After Misuse Of Funds

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 5:32 pm

Parade onlookers cheer marchers in last year's National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York.
Craig Ruttle AP

The National Puerto Rican Day Parade will be marching down New York City's Fifth Avenue under new leadership this year.

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5:31pm

Wed January 15, 2014
Around the Nation

Even As Ban Lifts, Many Remain Wary Of Tap Water

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 7:44 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

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5:59pm

Thu January 9, 2014
Code Switch

White House Picks Choctaw Nation To Fight Poverty In Oklahoma

Chief Gregory Pyle (left) and Assistant Chief Gary Batton stand in front of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma's Capitol building in Tuskahoma, Okla.
Larissa Copeland Courtesy of Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

Fifty years after President Lyndon Johnson declared his "War on Poverty," President Obama issued his own plan to combat poverty Thursday with the nation's first five "Promise Zones."

All "Promise Zones" will receive a competitive advantage when applying for federal grants, on-site support from federal officials, and, pending congressional approval, tax incentives for businesses hiring and investing in the community.

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3:21am

Mon December 30, 2013
Code Switch

Films With Black Actors, Directors Go To 11 In 2013

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 11:33 am

Monica Calhoun (left), Melissa De Sousa and Nia Long star in The Best Man Holiday, one of this year's eleven top-grossing films starring black actors and by black directors.
Michael Gibson Universal Pictures

As we near the end of 2013, NPR is taking a look at the numbers that tell the story of this year — numbers that, if you really understand them, give insight into the world we're living in, right now. You'll hear the stories behind numbers ranging from zero to 1 trillion.

When it comes to race and film, the number of the year is 11.

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4:34am

Tue December 17, 2013
Race

Chinese-American Descendants Uncover Forged Family Histories

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 12:30 am

William Wong (standing) poses with his parents and nephew in an old family photo. Wong's mother immigrated to the U.S. from China as his father's "sister" to bypass the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
Courtesy of William Wong

What if you discovered the last name you've lived with since birth is fake?

That's what happened in many Chinese-American families who first came to the U.S. before World War II, when the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 banned Chinese laborers from legally entering the country.

The law, formally repealed by Congress 70 years ago Tuesday, prompted tens of thousands of Chinese to use forged papers to enter the U.S. illegally.

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2:55pm

Fri November 29, 2013
Code Switch

New Pilot Program Gives Immigrant Detainees Public Defenders

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 11:34 am

Matthew Diller, dean of Yeshiva University's Cardozo School of Law, talks with press about the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project in June.
Cardozo School of Law

In the American criminal justice system, you have the right to an attorney. And if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.

That's not the case if you're a defendant in U.S. immigration court. Immigration proceedings are civil matters, and the Constitution does not extend the right to court-appointed attorneys to immigrant detainees.

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3:07am

Tue November 19, 2013
Code Switch

A New Life For An Old Slave Jail

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 7:31 pm

Formerly known as the Alexandria Slave Pen, this ashen gray row house in Alexandria, Va., once housed one of the country's largest slave-dealing firms.
Hansi Lo Wang NPR

President Abraham Lincoln stood on a battlefield in Gettysburg, Pa., 150 years ago and declared "a new birth of freedom" for the nation.

That same year, an African-American man named Lewis Henry Bailey experienced his own rebirth. At age 21, Bailey was freed from slavery in Texas. His journey began in Virginia, where he was sold as a child in a slave jail.

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5:20am

Sat November 9, 2013
Code Switch

Asian-American Lawyers Act Like '22 Lewd Chinese Women'

Originally published on Sat November 9, 2013 11:24 am

Attorney Francis Chin (center) runs through his lines with Yang Chen at a rehearsal for 22 Lewd Chinese Women, the latest trial re-enactment by the Asian American Bar Association of New York.
Hansi Lo Wang NPR

6:15am

Sat October 5, 2013
Code Switch

'Linsanity': For Asian Fans, It Felt Just Like 'Young Love'

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 12:44 pm

Jeremy Lin fans cheer during a game between the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers in March 2012.
Drew Hallowell Getty Images

6:18pm

Mon September 23, 2013
Code Switch

After Drop, Number Of Immigrants Illegally In U.S. Levels Off

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 7:01 pm

Young people stand in line in Los Angeles to apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows qualified immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as children to study or work openly.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

The latest estimate by the Pew Research Center puts the number of immigrants living illegally in the U.S. at 11.7 million.

This new number, based on U.S. government data, can be found in a report released Monday titled "Population Decline of Unauthorized Immigrants Stalls, May Have Reversed." The key word in that headline is "may." As the authors write in the report:

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5:03pm

Sat September 21, 2013
Economy

Stuck In Poverty Amid Signs Of Recovery

Originally published on Sat September 21, 2013 5:45 pm

Food distributed by the Manna Food Center is packed in cardboard boxes to be loaded into clients' cars.
Chloe Coleman NPR

For the third year in a row, the poverty rate has remained stuck at about 15 percent. Nearly one in six Americans was living in poverty in 2012, according to a new report by the Census Bureau. Despite a slow-moving economic recovery, these latest numbers show that for poor Americans, there are few signs of any recovery.

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7:19pm

Wed September 11, 2013
Code Switch

'Baby Veronica' Custody Battle Continues

Veronica, the child at the center of an adoption dispute, smiles in the bathroom of the Cherokee Nation Jack Brown Center in Oklahoma.
Mike Simons/Tulsa World AP

The U.S. Supreme Court may have decided almost three months ago the case known as Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl. But the young Native American girl known as "Baby Veronica," who turns 4 years old on Sunday, is still stuck in legal limbo.

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5:46am

Sun September 1, 2013
Code Switch

Asians-Only Volleyball Brings Community Together

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 11:23 am

Sam Li, 52 (center, lime green) has been playing 9-man volleyball for nearly 30 years and keeps up with the younger players.
Kainaz Amaria/NPR

Volleyball games are stopping traffic on one of Washington, D.C.'s landmark streets, Pennsylvania Avenue, this Labor Day weekend.

More than 1,000 players from across the U.S. and Canada have gathered in the nation's capital to bump, set and spike in an annual tournament with unusual rules.

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12:33pm

Wed August 28, 2013
U.S.

Crowd Amped Up For March On Washington Commemoration

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning.

Fifty years ago today, more than a quarter million Americans stepped out of chartered buses, trains and cars and marched towards the foot of the Lincoln Memorial. This morning, thousands have come again to the nation's capital to retrace those steps and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for jobs and freedom.

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5:07pm

Sat August 24, 2013
Race

50 Years Later, A March On Washington Among Generations

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 3:55 pm

Demonstrators on Saturday in Washington, D.C., commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Kevin Lamarque Reuters/Landov

They came by the beat of drums: grandparents with their grandchildren, community organizers and activists, church members and college students.

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3:05am

Mon August 19, 2013
Code Switch

Not Just A 'Black Thing': An Asian-American's Bond With Malcolm X

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 12:55 pm

Kochiyama looks at a memorial for World War II Japanese-American internees at the Rohwer Relocation Center in Rohwer, Ark., in 2004.
Mike Wintroath AP

The brief friendship of Malcolm X and Yuri Kochiyama began close to 50 years ago with a handshake.

Diane Fujino, chairwoman of the Asian-American studies department at the University of California, Santa Barbara, details the moment in her biography Heartbeat of Struggle: The Revolutionary Life of Yuri Kochiyama.

Kochiyama and her eldest son, 16-year-old Billy, were arrested along with hundreds of other people, mainly African-Americans, during a protest in Brooklyn, N.Y., in October 1963.

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5:29am

Fri August 16, 2013
Race

Chinatown's 'White Devil John' Sentenced To 20 Years

Originally published on Sun August 18, 2013 3:29 pm

John Willis, also known as "White Devil John" in Cantonese, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for money laundering and drug charges.
Jane Collins for NPR

The conviction this week of mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger put an end to one of Boston's highest-profile crime sagas.

Less well-known, though, is the case of John Willis, a white man from Dorchester, Mass., who was sentenced in federal court on Thursday to 20 years in prison for drug trafficking and money laundering.

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4:45pm

Thu July 18, 2013
Code Switch

S.C. High Court Moves To End Saga Of 'Baby Veronica'

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 5:47 pm

The South Carolina Supreme Court has ruled that custody for Baby Veronica, shown here in a October 2011 provided by her adoptive mother, Melanie Capobianco, be transferred from her biological father to the Capobiancos.
Melanie Capobianco AP

UPDATE July 24, 2013: The South Carolina Supreme Court denied a petition for rehearing and ordered Baby Veronica's adoption by the Capobiancos finalized, as reported by NPR's Nina Totenberg.


Less than a month after the U.S. Supreme Court sent an unusually messy child custody case back to the lower courts, South Carolina's Supreme Court has ruled to end the long-running saga of Baby Veronica, Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl.

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4:52pm

Wed July 10, 2013
Code Switch

New Series 'The Bridge' Seeks An Audience In Two Languages

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 8:53 pm

Mexican homicide detective Marco Ruiz (played by Demián Bichir) must work with his American counterpart, Sonya Cross (Diane Kruger), to solve a murder on the U.S.-Mexico border in FX's new series The Bridge.
FX Network

The U.S.-Mexico border plays a starring role in the new FX series The Bridge.

Characters in the television crime drama, which premieres Wednesday night, regularly cross back and forth through the border between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. The show's dialogue also frequently switches between English and Spanish, setting a new standard for bilingual drama on American television.

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5:27pm

Mon July 8, 2013
Around the Nation

How Many Gay Couples Have Tied The Knot? Nobody Knows

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 12:36 pm

Couples kiss at the Old Orange County Courthouse in Santa Ana, Calif., earlier this month.
Amy Taxin AP

Since the Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act in June, many questions have emerged about what the ruling may mean for same-sex couples.

There's one question, though, that would seem easy to answer: How many legal same-sex marriages are there in the U.S.?

The Limitations Of Self-Reporting

It turns out the answer is actually very complicated — so complicated that even experts such as Bob Witeck, president and founder of Witeck Communications, a marketing firm specializing in gay and lesbian consumers, are stumped.

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5:18am

Sat June 29, 2013
Code Switch

PR Experts On How To Prove You're Not A Racist

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 3:44 pm

Paula Deen dissolved into tears during her appearance Wednesday on NBC's Today show with Matt Lauer. The celebrity chef told Lauer she was not a racist, but image experts say she'll have to work harder to convince the public.
Peter Kramer AP

The empire of Paula Deen is crumbling.

Sears and Walgreens are among the latest companies cutting business ties with the celebrity chef, and Ballantine Books has announced that it will no longer publish her cookbooks.

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7:03am

Sun June 23, 2013
Code Switch

More States Let Unauthorized Immigrants Take The Wheel

Originally published on Sun June 23, 2013 1:01 pm

Immigrant advocates use an image of New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez on a mock state driver's license during a 2012 rally in Santa Fe, N.M., to protest her proposal to repeal a state law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses.
Russell Contreras AP

The national debate over immigration may be churning on in Washington, D.C., but there's one policy a growing number of states can agree on: driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants.

Vermont, Connecticut and Colorado passed new laws this month allowing drivers without Social Security numbers to receive licenses or authorization cards. They join Nevada, Maryland and Oregon, whose governors signed similar laws in May. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn started the trend this year when he signed Senate Bill 957 in January.

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