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.

Pages

5:20pm

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!"

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

9:03am

Sat April 25, 2015
Code Switch

Questioning The Black Male Experience In America

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 1:16 pm

"Question Bridge: Black Males" attempts to represent black male identity in America via a video question-and-answer exchange. At top center is Jesse Williams, the project's executive producer.
Question Bridge: Black Males

How would you like to be remembered, in a word or two? That question was posed by a black man and answered by other black men in a multimedia art project called "Question Bridge: Black Males."

Some of the answers to that query included "warrior," "sincere," "motivated," "dedicated," "family-oriented" and "father."

Read more

4:43pm

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.

Read more

8:04am

Sat February 28, 2015
Code Switch

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

Originally published on Sat February 28, 2015 3:28 pm

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

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

2:03pm

Sat January 17, 2015
Code Switch

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

Originally published on Sat January 17, 2015 4:25 pm

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

4:53pm

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Pages