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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New Boom
10:55 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Despite Low Employment, Millennials Hold Key To Reviving South Texas

Olmo Maldonado (center) returned to his hometown of McAllen, Texas, despite the low employment rate for millennials.
Hansi Lo Wang NPR

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 7:02 am

This story is part of the New Boom series on millennials in America.

Welcome to boot camp for the young and unemployed in McAllen, Texas.

"We're going to go ahead and do this," says instructor Marco Lopez, leading a small classroom of millennials through do's and don'ts for job seekers inside a strip mall near McAllen.

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Code Switch
12:09 pm
Sat November 8, 2014

As GOP Swept Congress, Black Republicans Took Home Historic Wins

Republican Mia Love celebrates with her supporters after winning the race for Utah's 4th Congressional District on Tuesday.
Rick Bowmer AP

Originally published on Sat November 8, 2014 1:33 pm

The Republican Party made historic gains during this week's midterm elections. Among their victories were three wins by black Republicans, who seem to be building momentum for diversifying the GOP ranks.

Mia Love — who is Mormon and Haitian-American — is one of those three, and Republicans in Utah's 4th District will be sending her to Congress next year.

"Many of the naysayers out there said that Utah would never elect a black, Republican, LDS woman to Congress," Love told a crowd on Tuesday. "And guess what? Not only did we do it, we were the first to do it!"

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The Two-Way
9:06 am
Sat November 1, 2014

Investigation Of Deadly Spaceship Crash Begins In Mojave Desert

Wreckage lies near the site where a Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo, crashed in Mojave, Calif., on Friday.
Ringo H.W. Chiu AP

Originally published on Sat November 1, 2014 2:55 pm

More than a dozen investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board are on the ground in California's Mojave Desert to find out why a manned spaceship crashed on Friday.

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Code Switch
11:53 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

A Tale Of Asian Gangs Unleashed In 'Green Dragons' Film

Paul Wong (Harry Shum, Jr.) leads the Green Dragons, a young, Asian-American gang that trafficked Chinese immigrants into the U.S. with help from the so-called "Snakehead Mama" (Eugenia Yuan).
Courtesy of A24 Films

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 12:40 pm

Thousands of Chinese immigrants took to the seas in the 1980s and 1990s. Many stowed away on cargo ships, spending months on voyages to America organized by Chinese-American gangs in New York.

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Politics
11:33 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Concern Over New-Voter Registration In Georgia Ahead Of Election

A voter casts her ballot at a polling site for Georgia's 2014 primary election in Atlanta.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 12:26 pm

This election season is proving to be tough for Democrats, but many believe they can turn the red state of Georgia blue with the help of new voters.

One voter registration campaign led by the New Georgia Project, a "nonpartisan effort" according to its website, has targeted black, Latino and Asian-American residents.

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Code Switch
2:30 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Mexico Pays To Help Its Citizens Avoid Deportation From The U.S.

Mexican consulates, like this one in Houston, are helping some unauthorized immigrants from Mexico pay application fees for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
WhisperToMe Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Tue September 30, 2014 3:08 pm

Mexico is helping some of its citizens apply for a controversial immigration program in the U.S. called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

Since the Obama administration created the program in 2012, more than 580,000 unauthorized immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors have received temporary relief from deportation and been given work permits that last for at least two years.

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Code Switch
11:12 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

'Breaking Bad' Fans Get Their Fix In Spanish

In Metástasis, Diego Trujillo (center) plays Walter Blanco, a chemistry teacher who sells crystal meth with his former student José Miguel Rosas, played by Roberto Urbina.
Manuel Rodriguez UniMás

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 2:50 pm

How do you remake the award-winning AMC series Breaking Bad in Spanish?

Well, all you need — as the show's chemistry teacher-turned-drug dealer, Walter White, might say — is "a little tweak of chemistry."

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Code Switch
8:55 am
Mon September 1, 2014

To Model Manhood, Immigrant Dads Draw From Two Worlds

Lindolfo Carballo, an immigrant from El Salvador, meets his son, Raynel, outside school. In El Salvador, he says, families often "teach their boys one thing and their girls differently." He's trying to set a different example for his children.
Sarah Tilotta for NPR

Originally published on Mon September 1, 2014 11:53 am

Lindolfo Carballo knows there's a stereotype about men like him. He grew up in San Miguel, El Salvador, he says, in a male-dominant culture.

"I'm coming from a so-called 'machista' country, right? I mean, in this country, we all think that Latin America, in general, is where machismo is promoted," Carballo says.

In many families in Latin America, he adds, "parents — fathers and even mothers — teach their kids that men are to be served by their sisters."

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Code Switch
4:59 am
Sun August 24, 2014

50 Years Before Ferguson, A Summer Of Riots Racked The U.S.

Police officers struggle with a man dripping wet from the blast of a fire hose during rioting in Rochester, N.Y., in 1964.
Dozier Mobley AP

Originally published on Sun August 24, 2014 7:02 am

Fifty years ago this summer — a half-century before the protests in Ferguson, Mo. — riots broke out in seven cities in New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Pennsylvania, sparked by confrontations between black residents and their predominantly white police forces.

In Philadelphia, the violence began after dark, in late August.

"It was a hot day and just wasn't too much activity in the hood, as they say," remembers Kenneth Salaam, who was 15 years old in 1964.

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Code Switch
6:15 am
Thu August 14, 2014

Wanted At Barneys New York: An 'Anti-Profiling Consultant'

People walk by a Barneys New York retail store in New York City.
Eric Thayer Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 8:22 am

The luxury retailer Barneys New York is hiring.

WANTED: an "anti-profiling consultant."

The hire is just one part of Barneys' new settlement with the New York state attorney general's office, as The Two-Way reported this week.

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News
11:04 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Uncertainty Stalls Recruiting Efforts For Deportation Relief

A crowd waits in line to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in Los Angeles on the program's first day on Aug. 15, 2012.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 7:18 am

Next week marks the second anniversary of the start of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. It allows young immigrants — those who were brought to the U.S. illegally before turning 16 — to avoid deportation and get a work permit for two years.

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Code Switch
3:34 am
Sat August 2, 2014

James Shigeta 'Led The Way' For Asian-American Lovers On Screen

Hidenari Terasaki (James Shigeta) kisses the hand of his wife, Gwen (Carroll Baker), in the 1961 film Bridge to the Sun.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 2, 2014 10:27 am

Actor James Shigeta had the looks, the talent — and the voice.

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Code Switch
3:03 am
Sat July 26, 2014

At Washington's Training Camp, Fans Are Split On Name Change

A Washington Redskins helmet lies on the turf at the football team's training facility in Richmond, Va.
AP

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 10:52 am

Washington, D.C.'s football team has opened its training camp in Richmond, Va., just weeks after trademark registrations for its name were revoked.

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Code Switch
2:54 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

New York's 'Night Of Birmingham Horror' Sparked A Summer Of Riots

Helmeted New York City police carry away a rioter at West 130th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem on July 19, 1964.
AP
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Remembrances
6:04 am
Sun July 13, 2014

'Without Tommy, There's No Ramones'

Tommy Ramone, the original drummer for the Ramones, died Friday at the age of 65.
Ian Dickson Redferns/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 3:38 am

Punk rock music has lost one of its earliest pioneers.

Tommy Ramone died of cancer on Friday at his home in Queens, N.Y. He was the last surviving member of the original Ramones.

Tommy Ramone was Tamás Erdélyi before he became a "Ramone" and produced punk rock classics like "Rockaway Beach."

He was born in Budapest, where, as kid, he once had a memorable trip to see a movie about America.

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Code Switch
2:29 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Language Barriers Pose Challenges For Mayan Migrant Children

Hugo Pascual Tomas Manuel, 15, attends English classes at the Guatemalan-Maya Center in Lake Worth, Fla. He grew up speaking Q'anjob'al, or Kanjobal, an indigenous Mayan language.
Hansi Lo Wang NPR

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 2:43 pm

Among the tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors who have come from Central America this year are children who speak little or no Spanish. Many are from Guatemala's indigenous communities, who speak more than 20 different Mayan languages.

Rafael Domingo, 16, grew up in Guatemala speaking Q'anjob'al, sometimes referred to as Kanjobal. The youngest son of a single mother, he rode a bus, walked for miles and crossed a river before he was stopped at the Texas border.

"It was so difficult to come to this country," Domingo says through an interpreter.

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Code Switch
11:23 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Wave Of Guatemalan Migrant Children Presents Unique Challenges

Two young girls watch a World Cup soccer match on a television at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center in Nogales, Ariz.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Sat June 28, 2014 4:46 am

President Obama issued a warning this week to any parents in Mexico and Central America considering allowing their children to cross the U.S. border alone.

"Do not send your children to the borders," he told ABC News. "If they do make it, they'll get sent back. More importantly, they may not make it."

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Code Switch
11:15 am
Tue June 24, 2014

The Map Of Native American Tribes You've Never Seen Before

Aaron Carapella, a self-taught mapmaker in Warner, Okla., has designed a map of Native American tribes showing their locations before first contact with Europeans.
Hansi Lo Wang NPR

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 2:14 pm

Finding an address on a map can be taken for granted in the age of GPS and smartphones. But centuries of forced relocation, disease and genocide have made it difficult to find where many Native American tribes once lived.

Aaron Carapella, a self-taught mapmaker in Warner, Okla., has pinpointed the locations and original names of hundreds of American Indian nations before their first contact with Europeans.

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News
11:32 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Ruling On Redskins' Trademarks Carries Symbolic Weight

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 2:08 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has canceled six trademark registrations held by the Washington Redskins. Today's ruling determined the football teams trademark name is disparaging to Native Americans and unfit for federal registration. But as Hansi Lo Wang of NPR's Code Switch team reports, the team still owns the Redskins name and can continue to use it.

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Code Switch
3:57 am
Sat June 14, 2014

50 Years Ago, Freedom Summer Began By Training For Battle

Freedom Summer activists sing before leaving training sessions at Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio, for Mississippi in June 1964.
Ted Polumbaum Collection Newseum

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 1:51 pm

Idealism drove hundreds of college students to Mississippi 50 years ago.

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Code Switch
11:11 am
Fri June 13, 2014

An Opera Remembers The Tragedy Of An Asian-American Soldier

Andrew Stenson plays Pvt. Danny Chen in An American Soldier, a new opera about the hazing and death of the Chinese-American soldier from New York City.
Sarah Tilotta NPR

Originally published on Sat June 14, 2014 7:34 am

About two years ago, playwright David Henry Hwang turned down an offer to write a play about the brief life and suicide of Army Pvt. Danny Chen.

But an opera? He couldn't refuse.

"This is a story with big emotions, big primary colors in a way, and big plot events," says Hwang, who wrote the libretto for An American Soldier, a new hourlong opera commissioned by Washington National Opera.

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Code Switch
7:51 pm
Sun June 1, 2014

Yuri Kochiyama, Activist And Former World War II Internee, Dies At 93

Yuri Kochiyama looks at a memorial for World War II Japanese-American internees at the Rohwer Relocation Center in Rohwer, Ark., in 2004.
Mike Wintroath AP

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 1:50 pm

Japanese-American activist Yuri Kochiyama has died of natural causes in Berkeley, Calif., at age 93. The lifelong champion of civil rights causes in the black, Latino, Native American and Asian-American communities died peacefully in her sleep Sunday morning, according to her family.

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Around the Nation
3:28 am
Sun May 25, 2014

Isla Vista Killing Spree Claims 7 Lives, Including Suspect

Originally published on Sun May 25, 2014 6:51 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We begin this hour in Isla Vista, Calif. The small college town near Santa Barbara continues to grieve this morning after a killing spree late Friday night. Authorities say 22-year-old Elliott Rodger apparently took his own life after killing six others and injuring 13. NPR's Hansi Lo Wang reports.

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Code Switch
10:49 am
Fri May 23, 2014

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

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

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 9:13 am

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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Code Switch
10:31 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Oklahoma's Latino Community Prepares For The Next Tornado

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

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 6:43 am

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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History
12:23 pm
Sat May 10, 2014

Descendants Of Chinese Laborers Reclaim Railroad's History

A group of Asian-Americans, including descendants of Chinese railroad workers, recreated an iconic photo on the 145th anniversary of the first transcontinental railroad's completion at Promontory Summit, Utah.
Courtesy of Corky Lee

Originally published on Sat May 10, 2014 4:55 pm

East finally met West 145 years ago on America's first transcontinental railroad.

The symbolic hammering of a golden spike at Promontory Summit, Utah, completed the connection between the country's two coasts and shortened a cross-country trip of more than six months down to a week.

Much of the building was done by thousands of laborers brought in from China, but their faces were left out of photographs taken on that momentous day.

Over the years, one photograph in particular from May 10, 1869, has taken root in U.S. history.

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Code Switch
12:03 am
Mon April 21, 2014

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

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

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 8:52 am

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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Code Switch
3:12 am
Sat April 19, 2014

In Silicon Valley, Immigrants Toast Their Way To The Top

Engineer Mit Shah gives a speech at a meeting of the "ArtICCulators" Toastmasters Club in Milpitas, Calif.
Hansi Lo Wang NPR

Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 7:18 am

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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Code Switch
2:58 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

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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Code Switch
3:13 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Changing Demographics A Factor In Rhode Island's Gubernatorial Race

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

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 7:06 am

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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