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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8:01am

Sat June 13, 2015
Sports

U.S. Soccer Leads Its Group Despite A Draw With Sweden

Originally published on Mon June 15, 2015 11:46 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The U.S. faced off against Sweden in the marquee match in the group stage of the women's World Cup last night in Winnipeg, Canada. NPR's Shereen Marisol Meraji was there.

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5:06am

Mon June 8, 2015
Sports

Julie Johnston: Player To Watch On U.S. Women's World Cup Team

Originally published on Mon June 8, 2015 1:06 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

4:30pm

Mon May 25, 2015
Sports

For Women's World Cup, U.S. Soccer Fans Kick It Up A Notch

Originally published on Mon May 25, 2015 6:45 pm

American Outlaws, seen on the big screen, cheer for the U.S. women's national team more than half an hour before kickoff during a match with Mexico on May 17.
Shereen Marisol Meraji NPR

Soccer fans are replacing their favorite club jerseys for national colors as the best female players in the world prepare to face off in Canada for World Cup 2015, which starts on June 6.

The American Outlaws, considered the biggest U.S. national soccer fan association, has already been rocking red, white and blue to cheer on the women's national team.

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5:04pm

Tue May 19, 2015
NPR Ed

Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful ... This Great Teacher Abides By The Scout Law

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 11:32 am

Romy Vasquez leads the boys in drills ahead of an upcoming Eagle Scout ceremony.
Shereen Marisol Meraji/NPR

Only a small number of Boy Scouts make Eagle Scout.

The feat is even harder when you come from inner-city poverty.

Yet for 27 years, Romy Vasquez has successfully encouraged boys from South Central Los Angeles to become Scouts, and he has seen more than a dozen members of Troop 780 go on to reach scouting's highest rank.

His pitch: You want to be in a gang? Scouting is the biggest gang in the world.

"It's global," he tells the Scouts. "We got some in Japan, China, Israel, all over. So guess what? You belong to BSA!"

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10:08am

Wed May 13, 2015
Code Switch

A Rust Belt Story Retold, Through Portraits Of The Women Who Lived It

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 3:18 pm

United States Steel Mon Valley Works Edgar Thomson Plant, 2013, from The Notion of Family (Aperture, 2014).
LaToya Ruby Frazier

Just outside Pittsburgh is the tiny borough of Braddock, Pa., best known as the birthplace of Andrew Carnegie's first steel mill. Today, it's something of a poster child for rust belt revitalization, a place where artists can buy property for pennies and even construct outdoor pizza ovens using the bricks from abandoned or demolished buildings.

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11:30am

Wed April 29, 2015
Code Switch

How One West Baltimore Principal Helps Her Students Make Sense Of It All

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 5:31 pm

Harden-Lindsey helps direct students after the school day ends.
Shereen Marisol Meraji NPR

Editor's note: Code Switch reporter Shereen Marisol Meraji spent Wednesday with a West Baltimore principal charged with a huge task: helping her middle and high school students, who are overwhelmingly poor and black, make sense of what's happening in Baltimore right now.

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4:37pm

Mon March 16, 2015
NPR Ed

Why Many Smart, Low-Income Students Don't Apply To Elite Schools

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 8:01 pm

Kristen Hannah Perez, a low-income, high-achieving student from Celina, Texas, plans to attend Dartmouth€ College next fall.
Shereen Meraji/NPR

Right now, high school seniors across the country are trying hard not to think about what is — or isn't — coming in the mail.

They're anxiously awaiting acceptance letters (or the opposite) from their top-choice colleges and universities. But this story isn't about them. It's about a big group of seniors who could get into great schools but don't apply: high-achieving students from low-income families who live outside of America's big cities.

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7:35am

Thu February 5, 2015
Code Switch

Steven Yeun's 'Glenn': Slaying Zombies And Getting The Girl

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 8:48 pm

Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) and Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan) - The Walking Dead - Season 4
Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

AMC's The Walking Dead holds the record for the most-watched cable television drama. If you've never seen it, it's about the zombie apocalypse and follows a group survivors trying to stay alive in Atlanta, Ga. If you're a fan — and there are millions upon millions of us out there — you know that no character is safe, and you've got a favorite character that you don't want to die.

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5:22pm

Wed November 26, 2014
Code Switch

How Ferguson Residents Are Giving Thanks This Holiday Season

Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 6:39 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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5:08pm

Tue November 25, 2014
Around the Nation

At Vandalized Ferguson Businesses, Anger And Tears

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 11:29 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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5:09pm

Mon November 24, 2014
Around the Nation

Ferguson Protesters Anxiously Await Grand Jury Decision

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 10:15 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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9:38am

Mon November 24, 2014
Code Switch

'Ferguson Forward': Churchgoers Seek A New Normal

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 6:42 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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5:11pm

Mon November 3, 2014
New Boom

Millennials Have Inherited The Black Marriage Gap

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 8:03 am

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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5:34am

Thu October 16, 2014
Race

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

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 2:22 pm

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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4:21pm

Fri September 12, 2014
Men In America

How To Be A 21st Century 'Gentleman'

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 8:40 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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8:05am

Sat August 16, 2014
Code Switch

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

Originally published on Sat August 16, 2014 1:56 pm

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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6:53am

Mon June 30, 2014
Code Switch

'Do The Right Thing' Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 4:22 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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4:16pm

Fri June 27, 2014
Men In America

Bathrobes And Baby Carriers: The Stuff Of Manliness?

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 4:26 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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4:30pm

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 7:10 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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8:01am

Sun June 22, 2014
Health Care

In LA, Barbers Cut Hair And Check Blood Pressure

Originally published on Sun June 22, 2014 12:19 pm

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.

4:21pm

Fri June 13, 2014
Code Switch

For These Inner-City Dads, Fatherhood Comes With Homework

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 5:32 pm

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

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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4:33pm

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 8:31 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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3:39am

Fri May 16, 2014
Code Switch

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

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 10:51 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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3:05am

Tue April 1, 2014
Code Switch

Lending Circles Help Latinas Pay Bills And Invest

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 8:50 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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4:43pm

Tue December 3, 2013
Code Switch

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

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 6:39 pm

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

4:52pm

Wed November 20, 2013
Code Switch

Arturo Sandoval: Free To Blow His Trumpet The Way He Wants

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 9:43 am

Cuban jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Wednesday.
Shereen Marisol Meraji NPR

A former president, a media mogul and a Cuban jazz trumpeter are among the 16 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Wednesday. That Cuban jazz trumpeter, Arturo Sandoval, happened to be performing not too far away from NPR West, at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, last Friday. So I went to pay him a visit during rehearsals.

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4:12am

Mon September 16, 2013
Movies

'The Muslims Are Coming!' To Middle America

Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 7:09 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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2:23pm

Wed August 21, 2013
Code Switch

Summer Of '63: Old Lessons For A New Movement

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 6:38 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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11:59am

Tue August 13, 2013
Code Switch

Latinas Drive Hispanic Purchasing Power In The U.S.

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 1:05 pm

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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5:28am

Tue August 13, 2013
Business

Why Modern Latinas Are A Challenge To Marketers

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 7:59 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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