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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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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4:31pm

Wed March 19, 2014
Race

LAPD Pays Tribute To Josephine Serrano Collier, A Latina Pioneer

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 9:48 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

A moment now to remember a woman who broke new ground on the LAPD. Josephine Serrano Collier(ph) was the first Mexican-American woman on the force. She's now died at age 91. NPR's Shereen Marisol Meraji tells us more.

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5:01pm

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

5:51pm

Fri November 1, 2013
Around the Nation

An East L.A. Football Rivalry, Unchanged For 79 Years

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 6:49 pm

An East Los Angeles rivalry has become the largest high school football game west of the Mississippi. The football teams of Garfield High School and Roosevelt High School will meet on the gridiron Friday night for the 79th year. The game is expected to draw 20,000 fans.

3:08am

Fri October 18, 2013
Code Switch

The Whitest Historically Black College In America

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 5:13 pm

Deirdre Guyton, the school's director of alumni affairs, is proud of Bluefield State College's history and wants to preserve it. Here, she holds up a photo of the school's football team from 1927 to 1928, when it was the best black college team.
Shereen Marisol Meraji NPR

It opened in the late 19th century as the Bluefield Colored Institute, created to educate the children of black coal miners in segregated West Virginia. Although it still receives the federal funding that comes with its designation as a historically black institution, today Bluefield State College is 90 percent white. The road that separates those realities is as rocky as any story of racial transition in post-World War II America.

We went to the campus of Bluefield State to see what campus life was like at this unusual college.

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6:24pm

Tue October 8, 2013
Code Switch

LA Dodgers' Spark Yasiel Puig Is Lightning Rod For Criticism

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 10:22 am

Yasiel Puig (right) celebrates with teammate Brian Wilson on Monday night after the Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves 4-3 to advance to the National League Championship Series.
Danny Moloshok AP

It might be the comeback of 2013. The Los Angeles Dodgers went from last place in their division four months ago to the National League Championship Series after Monday night's 4-3 win against the Atlanta Braves. And a 22-year-old Cuban defector has been credited with sparking the turnaround: No. 66, Yasiel Puig.

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5:11am

Tue September 24, 2013
Sports

Cuban Defector Yasiel Puig Ignites Los Angeles Dodgers

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 9:13 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, in trying to make a comeback, Blackberry might learn something from the Los Angeles Dodgers. A few months ago they were in last place. Now the Dodgers are heading to the playoffs. The team includes a Cuban defector, Yasiel Puig, Dodger number 66. Here's NPR's Shereen Marisol Meraji.

SHEREEN MARISOL MERAJI, BYLINE: First off, not every ball player has his own theme song.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MERAJI: Twenty-two-year-old rookie Yasiel Puig has been in the Majors for less than four months.

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5:08am

Thu September 5, 2013
Around the Nation

Calif. Gov. Debates Changing Who's Eligible For Jury Duty

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 6:58 am

The California legislature passed a bill that would allow lawful permanent residents to sit on juries. Governor Jerry Brown has until Oct. 13 to sign the bill into law. If he does, California will be the first state to allow non-citizens to perform jury duty.

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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