Hansi Lo Wang

Hansi Lo Wang is a National Desk reporter based at NPR's New York Bureau. He covers issues and events in the Northeast.

He previously reported on race, ethnicity and culture for NPR's Code Switch team. Since joining NPR in 2010 as a Kroc Fellow, he's contributed to NPR's breaking news coverage of the 2013 tornado in Moore, Okla., the trial of George Zimmerman in Florida and the Washington Navy Yard shooting. He has also reported for Seattle public radio station KUOW and worked behind the scenes of NPR's Weekend Edition as a production assistant.

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. He was also a finalist for a Salute to Excellence National Media Award from the National Association of Black Journalists.

A Philadelphia native, Wang speaks both Mandarin and Cantonese dialects of Chinese. As a student at Swarthmore College, he hosted, produced, and reported for a weekly podcast on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Code Switch
3:40 am
Fri April 17, 2015

Deaths Of Unarmed Black Men Revive 'Anti-Lynching Plays'

Lauren Lattimore (left), Wi-Moto Nyoka, Edmund Alyn Jones and Courtney Harge rehearse a scene from Blue-Eyed Black Boy, a play about lynching that was written around 1930.
Hansi Lo Wang NPR

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 2:06 pm

An obscure but riveting genre of theater is being revived in New York City.

They're called "anti-lynching plays." Most were written by black playwrights during the early 1900s to show how lynchings devastated African-American families.

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Code Switch
5:04 pm
Fri April 10, 2015

Painting The 'Epic Drama' Of The Great Migration: The Work Of Jacob Lawrence

Each of the 60 paintings in Jacob Lawrence's Great Migration series is accompanied with a caption. For this panel, he wrote in 1941: "In every town Negroes were leaving by the hundreds to go North and enter into Northern industry."
Courtesy of The Phillips Collection

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 8:58 pm

There's no historical marker outside Jacob Lawrence's childhood home in New York City's Harlem neighborhood.

But Khalil Gibran Muhammad, director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, has an idea of what it might say: "Here lived one of the 20th century's most influential visual artists, a man named Jacob Lawrence, who was a child of southern migrants."

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Code Switch
10:16 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

Civilians Can Record Police Encounters, But When Is It Interference?

Cellphones were used to record a 2012 confrontation between protesters and police in Springfield, Ill.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 2:50 pm

The arrest of South Carolina police Officer Michael Slager, who shot and killed Walter Scott in North Charleston this week, came shortly after the release of a cellphone video recorded by an eyewitness.

The filming of police by civilians has also sparked controversy, and it often causes confusion about what is legal.

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Law
5:12 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Sen. Robert Menendez Indicted On Corruption Charges

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 8:00 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A grand jury has indicted Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey on federal corruption charges. Menendez made a brief statement to reporters after the indictment was announced.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)

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U.S.
3:34 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Immigrants Worry They'll Face Deportation After Deferred Action Delay

Wilfredis Ayala, an unauthorized immigrant from El Salvador, lives on Long Island, N.Y., with his U.S.-born son, Justin, and Justin's mother, Wendy Urbina.
Hansi Lo Wang NPR

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 3:21 pm

Around 4 million unauthorized immigrants are stuck in legal limbo more than two weeks after a federal judge in Texas suspended President Obama's move to temporarily protect them from deportation.

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Code Switch
5:14 am
Sat February 21, 2015

Korean Tailors Try To Keep The Lunar New Year Hanbok Ritual Alive

Models present the traditional costume known as hanbok during the 2010 Korea Hanbok Festival in Seoul.
Ahn Young-joon AP

Originally published on Sat February 21, 2015 11:06 pm

Getting ready for the Lunar New Year once meant buying a new set of clothes for many families of Korean ancestry.

For centuries, the costume known as hanbok – a two-piece outfit traditionally made of embroidered cotton or silk worn by men and women – has played a central role in the new year's wardrobe.

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Around the Nation
4:07 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Judge's Decision Leaves Immigrants In Legal Limbo

Jesus, an unauthorized immigrant from Mexico, gets help with tax documents from Mun Yin Yeow, a staff member at Atlas: DIY, a nonprofit in Brooklyn, N.Y. He asked NPR not to use his last name because he fears deportation if his application for deportation relief is not approved.
Hansi Lo Wang NPR

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 7:08 pm

A federal judge in South Texas said President Obama had overstepped his authority with his executive actions on immigration. Now, the new court ruling has left some unauthorized immigrants in legal limbo and slowed down months of preparation by immigration attorneys.

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Around the Nation
6:09 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Fuhgeddaboudit: New York Accent On Its Way Out, Linguists Say

Heather Quinlan searched for New York accents around the city for her documentary If These Knishes Could Talk. She holds up a sign at the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Manhattan.
Hansi Lo Wang NPR

Originally published on Tue February 3, 2015 10:21 am

There are some cities you can identify with just an accent, including New York.

But linguists say that those who speak in the classic New York tongue are part of a dying breed.

To find them, filmmaker Heather Quinlan went accent hunting around the city, holding a sign that reads, "Do you have a New York accent? Then talk to me." She directed If These Knishes Could Talk: The Story of the New York Accent, a documentary about the decline of many of New York's well-known accents.

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Code Switch
5:16 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

University Re-Imagines Town And Gown Relationship In Philadelphia

New apartment buildings are replacing empty lots in Mantua, one of Philadelphia's poorest neighborhoods.
Will Figg for NPR

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 5:40 am

Dinner is served in the West Philadelphia neighborhood of Mantua.

"You look like you're ready to have a great Dornsife neighborhood partnership meal! Am I right about it?" Rose Samuel-Evans asks the crowd at a free community dinner of chicken marsala and stuffed flounder hosted by Drexel University.

Samuel-Evans works in this two-story, orange-brick schoolhouse; it's one of three refurbished buildings that opened last summer north of campus as part of Drexel's Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships.

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Code Switch
5:22 pm
Sun January 18, 2015

Broken Promises On Display At Native American Treaties Exhibit

Suzan Shown Harjo points to a signature on Treaty K at the National Archives. The document will be on display in 2016 at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian for an exhibit on treaties curated by Harjo.
James Clark NPR

Originally published on Sun January 18, 2015 5:33 pm

For centuries, treaties have defined the relationship between many Native American nations and the U.S. More than 370 ratified treaties have helped the U.S. expand its territory and led to many broken promises made to American Indians.

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Law
4:38 pm
Thu January 1, 2015

New Year Brings New Batch Of Laws On Chickens, Recycling And Consent

Originally published on Thu January 1, 2015 10:34 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

A batch of new state laws go into effect around the country today. They address issues including sexual assault, discarded electronics and animal welfare. NPR's Hansi Lo Wang reports.

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New Boom
3:55 am
Thu November 20, 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 12:02 pm

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
5:09 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 6:33 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
2:17 pm
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 7:55 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
4:53 am
Fri October 24, 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 5:40 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
4:33 am
Wed October 22, 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 5:26 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
7:03 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 8:08 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
5:02 am
Wed September 17, 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 7:50 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
1:55 pm
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 4:53 pm

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
9:59 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 12:02 pm

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
11:15 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 1:22 pm

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
4:44 pm
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 12:18 pm

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
7:56 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 6:36 pm

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

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Code Switch
8:03 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 3:52 pm

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
7:54 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
11:04 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 8:38 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
7:01 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 7:43 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
4:23 pm
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 9:46 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
4:38 pm
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 7:14 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
4:32 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

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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