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
9:03 am
Sat April 25, 2015

Questioning the Black Male Experience in America

Question Bridge: Black Males attempts to represent black male identity in America through a video question and answer exchange. Top center is Jesse Williams, the executive producer of Question Bridge.
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.

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NPR Ed
4:37 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 8:01 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
7:30 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 8:48 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
2:03 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 4:25 pm

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Code Switch
5:13 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 6:16 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
5:22 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 6:39 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
5:08 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 11:29 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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Around the Nation
5:09 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

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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Code Switch
9:38 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 6:42 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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The Changing Lives Of Women
4:17 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

For Modern Women, 'Ladylike' Means Strong And Sporty

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 6:24 pm

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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New Boom
5:11 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

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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Code Switch
5:08 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 1:28 pm

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
5:34 am
Thu October 16, 2014

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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Men In America
4:21 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 8:40 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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Around the Nation
5:09 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Two Miles From Protests, Residents Want Calm To Return To Ferguson

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 12:35 pm

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

Around the Nation
5:01 am
Tue August 19, 2014

Nightly Chaos Disrupts Ferguson Residents' Daily Lives

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 12:36 pm

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

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

In Ferguson, Missouri, the night started with no curfew and peaceful protests. But then the piece didn't last. People in the crowd began throwing rocks and bottles. Then police ordered people off the streets. And then there was gunfire.

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Code Switch
8:05 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 1:56 pm

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
5:36 am
Sat July 12, 2014

35 Years After Minnie Riperton's Death, New Fans Still Find Her

Celebrated soul singer Minnie Riperton, shown here in March 1976, passed away in 1979 at the age of 31.
AP

Originally published on Sat July 12, 2014 12:12 pm

"There are just some songs you just don't touch because they're done so well, so like, don't even try," says 24-year-old Moses Sumney. "But I'm going to try."

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Race
5:10 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Community Outraged Over Video Showing Officer Beating Woman

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 6:50 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Prosecutors here in Los Angeles are being asked to look into what happened last week when an officer with the California Highway Patrol - the CHP - was caught on video repeatedly punching in African-American woman on the side of a freeway. The video has since gone viral and civil rights activists have called for swift action against the officer. NPR's Shereen Marisol Meraji has more.

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Code Switch
6:53 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 4:22 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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