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
5:41 am
Sun July 26, 2015

On A 'Tour De Tacos' With Los Angeles' Eastside Bike Club

The Eastside Bicycle Club on a 35 mile Saturday evening ride with stops for tacos.
Carlos Morales

Originally published on Sun July 26, 2015 5:05 pm

Decked out in spandex and a yellow and orange racing jersey with Eastside Bicycle Club: Ride To Live on the front, Gabriela Bilich was hanging out at club founder Carlos Morales' bike shop before a Saturday evening group-ride last weekend, joking with the other cyclists in spanglish.

Bilich says a couple of years ago, she would never have imagined herself riding a bike through the streets of LA. She says the cycling world just didn't feel welcoming to a 40-something Latina from Southeast LA who struggled with her weight.

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Sports
3:14 am
Mon July 6, 2015

U.S. Wins Women's World Cup Final Over Japan 5-2

Originally published on Mon July 6, 2015 6:00 am

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

For the U.S. women's soccer team, three is the magic number. In Vancouver last night, the team won their third soccer World Cup, thanks to three spectacular goals by the U.S. captain. NPR's Shereen Marisol Meraji has the story.

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Sports
6:01 am
Sat June 13, 2015

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

Originally published on Mon June 15, 2015 9:46 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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Sports
4:23 am
Fri June 12, 2015

U.S. Women's World Cup Team To Face Sweden, Ex-American Coach

Originally published on Fri June 12, 2015 12:12 pm

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

Sports
2:34 pm
Thu June 11, 2015

Families Of U.S. Women's Soccer Players Share Rituals For Calming Nerves

Originally published on Thu June 11, 2015 4:39 pm

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

Sports
3:18 am
Tue June 9, 2015

In Their First World Cup Match, U.S. Women Beat Australia 3 -1

Originally published on Tue June 9, 2015 12:21 pm

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The U.S. Women's National Soccer Team entered the World Cup stage last night in a big way by beating Australia 3-to-1.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

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Sports
3:19 am
Mon June 8, 2015

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

Originally published on Mon June 8, 2015 11:06 am

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

Sports
3:07 pm
Fri June 5, 2015

Women's World Cup Soccer Kicks Off Saturday In Canada

Originally published on Fri June 5, 2015 4:47 pm

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Sports
3:28 am
Fri June 5, 2015

Women's World Cup Soccer Action To Begin Amid FIFA Scandal

Originally published on Fri June 5, 2015 5:58 am

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

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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Sports
1:59 pm
Mon May 25, 2015

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

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

Originally published on Mon May 25, 2015 4:45 pm

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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NPR Ed
2:39 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

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

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

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 9:32 am

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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Code Switch
9:00 am
Wed May 13, 2015

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

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

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 1:18 pm

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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Code Switch
9:30 am
Wed April 29, 2015

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

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

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 3:31 pm

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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NPR Ed
2:29 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

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

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

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 6:01 pm

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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Code Switch
6:04 am
Sat February 28, 2015

'The Black Summit' Draws African-American Skiers And Boarders To Aspen

Art Clay, 78, of Chicago takes a run in a light snowfall on Wednesday. Clay is a co-founder of the National Brotherhood of Skiers.
Sonya Doctorian for NPR

Originally published on Sat February 28, 2015 1:28 pm

We've all heard the old adage that every snowflake is different, but they do have one thing in common: They're all white. That's also the image that many have of the people taking part in winter sports, including skiing and snowboarding, here in the U.S.

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Code Switch
5:05 am
Thu February 5, 2015

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

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

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 6:48 pm

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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Code Switch
12:03 pm
Sat January 17, 2015

Iranian-American Filmmaker Breaks Out Of Boxes, Into The Box Office

Desiree Akhavan plays Shirin in Appropriate Behavior. Akhavan says she chose the name Shirin because it means sweet in Farsi. "Even though she's insane, she has a sweetness," says Akhavan.
Desiree Akhavan

Originally published on Sat January 17, 2015 2:25 pm

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Code Switch
9:07 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 4:16 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
3:22 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 4:39 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
3:08 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 9:29 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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Code Switch
7:38 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 4:42 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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New Boom
3:11 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

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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Code Switch
3:35 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 11:28 am

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
3:34 am
Thu October 16, 2014

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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Men In America
2:21 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 6:40 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
5:54 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 11:56 am

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
4:53 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 2:22 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
2:30 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 2:26 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
2:44 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 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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Health Care
6:00 am
Sun June 22, 2014

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.

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