Hansi Lo Wang

Hansi Lo Wang is a reporter covering race, ethnicity and culture for NPR's Code Switch team. In early 2015, he will move to NPR's New York bureau to cover the Northeast as a National Desk reporter.

After joining NPR in 2010 as a Kroc Fellow, Wang reported on topics ranging from immigration and demographics to movies and graphic novels. In 2014, he won the National Journalism Award for General Excellence in Radio from the Asian American Journalists Association for his profile of a white member of a Boston Chinatown gang. His report on a former slave jail near Washington, D.C., was chosen as a finalist for a Salute to Excellence National Media Award from the National Association of Black Journalists.

Wang contributed to NPR's breaking news coverage of the 2013 tornado in Moore, Okla., the trial of George Zimmerman in Florida, the Washington Navy Yard shooting and the chemical spill in West Virginia's Elk River. He has also reported for Seattle public radio station KUOW and worked behind the scenes of NPR's Weekend Edition as a production assistant.

Currently based in Washington, D.C., Wang was born in Philadelphia, where his first job was to find and furnish apartments for newly-arrived refugees. He graduated from Swarthmore College with a bachelor's degree in political science. As a student, he hosted, produced, and reported for a weekly radio program on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wang speaks both Mandarin and Cantonese dialects of Chinese.

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3:49pm

Fri May 23, 2014
Code Switch

Congress To Award Highest Honor To Army's Only Latino Unit

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 2:13 pm

Sgt. Carmelo C. Mathews (left) holds up a Puerto Rican flag riddled by enemy shellfire, as Pfc. Angel Perales (right) points to the protruding finger of Capt. Francisco Orobitg in Korea in 1952.
AP

Congress passed a bill on Thursday to honor the U.S. Army's only segregated Latino unit with the Congressional Gold Medal. If the bill is signed into law by President Obama, the 65th Infantry Regiment of Puerto Rico, also known as the Borinqueneers, will join Puerto Rican baseball star Roberto Clemente as the only Hispanics to be awarded the highest civilian honor given by Congress.

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3:31am

Tue May 20, 2014
Code Switch

Oklahoma's Latino Community Prepares For The Next Tornado

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 11:43 am

Gloria and Francisco Sanchez stand in front of their new ranch house, still under construction a year after a tornado destroyed their last home in Moore, Okla.
Hansi Lo Wang NPR

A devastating EF-5 tornado ripped through Moore, Okla., a year ago Tuesday. Just 11 days later, another twister ravaged the Oklahoma City metro area.

Nine of the 23 people who died as a result of the second storm were members of the local Latino community. Their deaths have sparked efforts to better prepare Hispanic families for storms.

On a windy afternoon in Oklahoma City, American Red Cross volunteer Ivelisse Cruz hands out stickers to families at the Children's Day Festival.

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5:03am

Mon April 21, 2014
Code Switch

In Asian-Majority District, House Race Divides Calif. Voters

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 1:52 pm

Rep. Mike Honda (left) walks down the House steps with Rep. Raul Ruiz after a vote at the Capitol on March 20, 2013.
Bill Clark CQ-Roll Call

In the heated race for a congressional seat in northern California, Mai Xuan Nguyen fought for her candidate with another cold call.

"Yes, that's K, H, A, N, N, A," she patiently explained in Vietnamese to a potential voter, spelling out her choice for Congress, Democrat Ro Khanna, as she marked her call list one recent evening at a coffeehouse in San Jose, Calif.

It was all part of Nguyen's role in an only-in-America scene: a Vietnamese-language phone bank for an Indian-American lawyer, who's challenging a Japanese-American congressman.

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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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7:04pm

Thu March 27, 2014
Code Switch

Latinos Live Longer But Struggle To Save Enough For Retirement

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 3:26 pm

Isaias Hernandez (left) counsels Paul Garcia on his finances at the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation in Montebello, Calif.
Courtesy of the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation

Many American workers find themselves financially unprepared for retirement. Among racial and ethnic groups, Latinos are the least prepared.

They're one of the fastest-growing racial or ethnic groups, and they have a longer life expectancy than whites and blacks — at about 81 years old.

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8:36am

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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12:01pm

Tue March 11, 2014
Code Switch

These Cute Images Make Reading Chinese Characters 'Chineasy'

ShaoLan Hsueh worked with illustrators to develop pictograms that help readers learn Chinese characters.
Rick Pushinsky Courtesy of ShaoLan Hsueh

Growing up in Taiwan, ShaoLan Hsueh stuck out.

She liked writing in Chinese.

"I know all the children hated it, but I was a bit odd in that I loved writing Chinese characters," says Hsueh, the daughter of a Chinese calligrapher.

Now living in London, she later discovered that the love she had for Chinese language felt like "torture" to her two British-born children. "I found it really challenging to try to convince them that it's really cool to read Chinese," she said. "No one in their environment would be interested or have contact with Chinese-speaking people."

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7:02pm

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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12:11pm

Wed February 19, 2014
Code Switch

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

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 12:55 pm

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

More than 70 years ago Wednesday, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order that led to the internment of more than 110,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II.

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