Hansi Lo Wang

Hansi Lo Wang is a reporter covering race, ethnicity, and culture for NPR's new Code Switch team.

Based in Washington, D.C., he previously served as a production assistant for NPR's Weekend Edition and was awarded the NPR Kroc Fellowship, during which he reported for NPR's National Desk and Seattle public radio station KUOW.

A Philadelphia native, Wang founded a radio reporting program for high school students in Philadelphia's Chinatown in 2008. He has also worked as a refugee housing coordinator.

He graduated with a bachelor's degree in political science from Swarthmore College. As a student, he hosted, produced, and reported for a weekly, student-run program on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a native Chinese speaker of both Mandarin and Cantonese dialects.

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8:03am

Sat July 26, 2014
Code Switch

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

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 3:52 pm

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

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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7:54pm

Fri July 18, 2014
Code Switch

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

11:04am

Sun July 13, 2014
Remembrances

'Without Tommy, There's No Ramones'

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 8:38 am

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

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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7:01pm

Tue July 1, 2014
Code Switch

Language Barriers Pose Challenges For Mayan Migrant Children

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 7:43 pm

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

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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4:23pm

Fri June 27, 2014
Code Switch

Wave Of Guatemalan Migrant Children Presents Unique Challenges

Originally published on Sat June 28, 2014 9:46 am

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

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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4:47pm

Tue June 24, 2014
Code Switch

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

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 7:14 pm

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

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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4:32pm

Wed June 18, 2014
News

Ruling On Redskins' Trademarks Carries Symbolic Weight

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 7:08 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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8:57am

Sat June 14, 2014
Code Switch

50 Years Ago, Freedom Summer Began By Training For Battle

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 6:51 pm

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

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

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4:55pm

Fri June 13, 2014
Code Switch

An Opera Remembers The Tragedy Of An Asian-American Soldier

Originally published on Sat June 14, 2014 12:34 pm

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

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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4:36pm

Mon June 2, 2014
Remembrances

Civil Rights Activist Yuri Kochiyama Dies At 93

Prominent activist Yuri Kochiyama has died of natural causes at 93. The civil rights champion successfully fought for reparations to be paid to Japanese-Americans interned during World War II.

12:51am

Mon June 2, 2014
Code Switch

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

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 6:50 pm

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
  • Listen to NPR's interview with Yuri Kochiyama in 2004

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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8:02am

Sun May 25, 2014
Around the Nation

Isla Vista Killing Spree Claims 7 Lives, Including Suspect

Originally published on Sun May 25, 2014 11:51 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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3:49pm

Fri May 23, 2014
Code Switch

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

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 2:13 pm

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

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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3:31am

Tue May 20, 2014
Code Switch

Oklahoma's Latino Community Prepares For The Next Tornado

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 11:43 am

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

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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5:23pm

Sat May 10, 2014
History

Descendants Of Chinese Laborers Reclaim Railroad's History

Originally published on Sat May 10, 2014 9:55 pm

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

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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5:03am

Mon April 21, 2014
Code Switch

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

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 1:52 pm

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

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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8:12am

Sat April 19, 2014
Code Switch

In Silicon Valley, Immigrants Toast Their Way To The Top

Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 12:18 pm

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

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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7:58pm

Tue April 1, 2014
Code Switch

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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8:36am

Wed March 12, 2014
Code Switch

Changing Demographics A Factor In Rhode Island's Gubernatorial Race

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 12:06 pm

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

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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6:40pm

Wed February 26, 2014
Code Switch

To Play The Part, Actors Must Talk The Talk — In Chinese

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 12:08 pm

Chinese billionaire Xander Feng, played by Terry Chen, shakes hands with Francis Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, in Netflix's House of Cards.
Nathaniel E. Bell Courtesy of Netflix

The success of the Netflix series House of Cards lies in the details.

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7:53pm

Fri February 21, 2014
Code Switch

Asian-American Contestant, 'Villain' Of 'Jeopardy,' Set To Return

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 2:55 pm

Game show contestant Arthur Chu with host Alex Trebek on the set of Jeopardy!
Courtesy of Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

If there are any unwritten rules to playing Jeopardy! Arthur Chu may have broken them all.

During his four-day winning streak in late January, he sometimes interrupted host Alex Trebek and cut in before the host could finish a sentence. He often jumped to the hardest clues on the board first and furiously tapped his buzzer whenever he knew the answer.

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8:07pm

Thu February 20, 2014
Code Switch

For Abused Native American Women, New Law Provides A 'Ray Of Hope'

Deborah Parker, vice chair of the Tulalip Tribes of Washington state, reacts to President Barack Obama signing the Violence Against Women Act in 2013 in Washington.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

This Thursday, three Native American tribes are changing how they administer justice.

For almost four decades, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling has barred tribes from prosecuting non-American Indian defendants. But as part of last year's re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act, a new program now allows tribes to try some non-Indian defendants in domestic abuse cases.

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12:55pm

Wed February 19, 2014
Code Switch

After Tour, Medal For WWII Japanese-American Soldiers Returns Home

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team, shown here in a 1944 photo taken in France, returned home from World War II as one of the most decorated U.S. military units.
Courtesy of National Archives

More than 70 years ago Wednesday, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order that led to the internment of more than 110,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II.

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11:53am

Sat February 15, 2014
Code Switch

Walking Down The Widening Aisle Of Interracial Marriages

Originally published on Sat February 15, 2014 1:13 pm

Kelly Mottershead and Louie Okamoto held a beach party last October for their wedding ceremony in Carmel, Calif.
Dana Barsuhn Courtesy of Louie Okamoto

Editor's Note: Code Switch has been engaged in a month-long exploration of romance across racial and cultural lines. Follow the Twitter conversation via the hashtag #xculturelove.

The numbers are small but growing.

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2:39pm

Thu February 13, 2014
Code Switch

National Puerto Rican Day Parade Reorganizes After Misuse Of Funds

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 5:32 pm

Parade onlookers cheer marchers in last year's National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York.
Craig Ruttle AP

The National Puerto Rican Day Parade will be marching down New York City's Fifth Avenue under new leadership this year.

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5:31pm

Wed January 15, 2014
Around the Nation

Even As Ban Lifts, Many Remain Wary Of Tap Water

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 7:44 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

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5:12pm

Mon January 13, 2014
Around the Nation

West Virginia Tap Water Ban Awaits A Good Flush

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 8:53 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Faucets in parts of West Virginia are running drinkable water again. This after a chemical spill leaked into the Elk River and tainted the local water supply. After a five-day ban on tap water in and around Charleston, Governor Earl Tomblin today announced the results of days of testing.

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5:59pm

Thu January 9, 2014
Code Switch

White House Picks Choctaw Nation To Fight Poverty In Oklahoma

Chief Gregory Pyle (left) and Assistant Chief Gary Batton stand in front of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma's Capitol building in Tuskahoma, Okla.
Larissa Copeland Courtesy of Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

Fifty years after President Lyndon Johnson declared his "War on Poverty," President Obama issued his own plan to combat poverty Thursday with the nation's first five "Promise Zones."

All "Promise Zones" will receive a competitive advantage when applying for federal grants, on-site support from federal officials, and, pending congressional approval, tax incentives for businesses hiring and investing in the community.

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3:21am

Mon December 30, 2013
Code Switch

Films With Black Actors, Directors Go To 11 In 2013

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 11:33 am

Monica Calhoun (left), Melissa De Sousa and Nia Long star in The Best Man Holiday, one of this year's eleven top-grossing films starring black actors and by black directors.
Michael Gibson Universal Pictures

As we near the end of 2013, NPR is taking a look at the numbers that tell the story of this year — numbers that, if you really understand them, give insight into the world we're living in, right now. You'll hear the stories behind numbers ranging from zero to 1 trillion.

When it comes to race and film, the number of the year is 11.

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4:34am

Tue December 17, 2013
Race

Chinese-American Descendants Uncover Forged Family Histories

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 12:30 am

William Wong (standing) poses with his parents and nephew in an old family photo. Wong's mother immigrated to the U.S. from China as his father's "sister" to bypass the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
Courtesy of William Wong

What if you discovered the last name you've lived with since birth is fake?

That's what happened in many Chinese-American families who first came to the U.S. before World War II, when the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 banned Chinese laborers from legally entering the country.

The law, formally repealed by Congress 70 years ago Tuesday, prompted tens of thousands of Chinese to use forged papers to enter the U.S. illegally.

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