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
3:08 am
Fri October 18, 2013

The Whitest Historically Black College In America

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

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

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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Code Switch
6:24 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

LA Dodgers' Spark Yasiel Puig Is Lightning Rod For Criticism

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

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

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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Sports
4:47 am
Tue September 24, 2013

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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Movies
4:12 am
Mon September 16, 2013

'The Muslims Are Coming!' To Middle America

Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 7:09 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

A group of Muslim comics went on tour through parts of Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, as well as Arizona. Their mission was to help Americans equate Islam with funny, rather than fundamentalist. And that is the topic of a new documentary called, "The Muslims Are Coming."

NPR's Shereen Marisol Meraji met up with the directors.

SHEREEN MARISOL MERAJI, BYLINE: Here's a quick taste of what happens when Muslim comics invade Middle America.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE MUSLIMS ARE COMING")

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Code Switch
2:23 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Summer Of '63: Old Lessons For A New Movement

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

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 6:38 pm

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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Code Switch
11:59 am
Tue August 13, 2013

Latinas Drive Hispanic Purchasing Power In The U.S.

Latina pop star Thalía holds a toddler playing a tumbadora during a Pampers promotional event launching Mi Música, Mi Herencia (My Music, My Heritage).
Marc Serota AP

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 1:05 pm

Meet Pamela Maria Wright — the "contemporary Latina consumer." She has two kids — Nico and Rita — whom she hopes will be bilingual, as she is. She's a tech-savvy working professional with a master's degree, but she's also very traditional and family-oriented. (While I was visiting her home, her father showed up for a surprise visit. "How much more Latino can you get?" Wright asked.)

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Business
5:28 am
Tue August 13, 2013

Why Modern Latinas Are A Challenge To Marketers

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 7:59 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Hispanic American are an increasingly important consumer demographic to woo. That's according to a new study from the market research firm Nielsen. The report says that most of today's Latinas are the primary decision makers when it comes to household spending.

But marketing to them is a real challenge, as NPR's Shereen Marisol Meraji reports.

SHEREEN MARISOL MERAJI, BYLINE: Welcome to the home of the contemporary Latina consumer.

PAMELA MARIA WRIGHT: Hi.

MERAJI: Hi. How are you?

Good. How are you?

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Author Interviews
6:44 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Comedian Aisha Tyler Talks About Flipping Off Failure

Tyler says as a kid she stood out because of her height, her glasses, and her vegetarian lunches.
Aisha Tyler

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 12:50 pm

Comedian and actor Aisha Tyler brews beer, plays video games, tells dirty jokes, drinks fancy booze and ... writes books.

She has a new one out this week: Self-inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humilation. We sat down in the NPR studios over a mug of 18-year-old scotch to talk about her most embarrassing moments on the road to success. (No, really, we did. Listen to us toast.)

For those of you wondering who Aisha Tyler is, here's a quick breakdown (to be read quickly):

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Code Switch
7:03 am
Sat June 29, 2013

What [BLANK] Folks Don't Understand About Rachel Jeantel

Witness Rachel Jeantel continues her testimony to defense attorney Don West during the trial of George Zimmerman on Thursday.
Jacob Langston AP

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 2:36 pm

Rachel Jeantel. Her hourslong testimony spanned two days of the George Zimmerman trial, and I bet you'll be talking about it with your friends over the weekend. She's the 19-year-old key witness for the prosecution who had a cellphone conversation with Trayvon Martin moments before he was killed.

And she most definitely touched a nerve.

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Code Switch
4:34 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

What Would A 2013 Voting Rights Act (Section 4) Look Like?

Ryan P. Haygood, director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, talks outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday about the court's opinion in Shelby County v. Holder.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 6:04 pm

You've probably heard the news. But just in case it was a crazy day at work, you just came home from a backpacking trip in the remote wilderness, or you couldn't pull yourself away from a Keeping Up with the Kardashians marathon — the Supreme Court has ruled that a key provision of the Voting Rights Act (Section 4) is unconstitutional.

To follow me, you have to know five things:

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