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.

My mother's family fled communism twice.

The first time was from China. Then, after Saigon fell in 1975, they left Vietnam.

My mother, Kuo Nam Lo, was 24 when she spent her first few months in the U.S. at a refugee camp at a military base along a stretch of the Appalachian Mountains in central Pennsylvania.

"I've always wanted to come back here," my mother told me in Cantonese on a recent drive through Fort Indiantown Gap. "Son, you've made my dream come true."

After a mass shooting at a historically black church, Charleston, S.C., finds itself in the middle of a national conversation about race.

The city of Charleston itself has seen major racial shifts in its population over the past few decades: since 1990, the black population has dropped from 42 percent to 23 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. One neighborhood undergoing this transition is located just north of the site of the shooting, Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

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New Jersey's highest court ruled Tuesday that Gov. Chris Christie does not have to pay more money into the state's pension funds. The decision overturns a lower court's ruling that favored the unions who brought the lawsuit.

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New York, Baltimore, Chicago and some other major cities have seen a rise of gun violence in recent months. And as summer approaches, Police Departments are worried that the problem could get worse. NPR's Hansi Lo Wang reports.

Editor's note: A version of this story was originally published in May 2012.

If there's one grilling tip to remember this Memorial Day weekend, it should be this: Flame is bad.

"Flame does nasty things to food," food historian and science guy Alton Brown tells NPR's Scott Simon.

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The president of the Boy Scouts of America made a surprise announcement today. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the organization needs to rethink its ban of openly gay men serving as scout leaders. NPR's Hansi Lo Wang reports.

It's been more than 60 years since Ellis Island closed as a station for inspecting and detaining immigrants. But you can still take a ferry from New York City and cross the Hudson River along the old routes, right to the dock outside a red brick building trimmed with limestone.

"You're sailing in just the way a 1920s immigrant sailed in, only on a little better vessel," says Stephen Briganti, the son of an Ellis Island immigrant from Italy.

Of all the police officers involved in the recent deaths of unarmed men which have drawn national attention, only one is Asian-American – New York City Police Officer Peter Liang, the son of Chinese immigrants.

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The federal investigation into Baltimore's police force is one of the first steps some in the city believe will rebuild the relationship between officers and residents.

Some faith leaders are optimistic that can be done, and past police programs have helped. But other residents are skeptical that West Baltimore residents' trust can be regained.

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In New York City, commuters traveling near ground zero today were greeted by an unusual sound - typewriters. And tapping away on them - poets writing verse on demand. NPR's Hansi Lo Wang stopped by to see some of them at work in lower Manhattan.

You can find food from just about any part of the world in New York City.

The Brooklyn Brewery is trying to push New Yorkers' palates even further by going back in time.

This week, it hosted a dinner party inspired by the local cuisine of Dutch settlers and Native Americans in the 1650s.

Back when New York wasn't even New York yet, and before the English took over in 1664, the Dutch called the city New Amsterdam.

"New Amsterdam tastes like salt pork," said head chef Andrew Gerson. "It tastes like venison. It tastes like fried dough; tastes like back fat."

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.

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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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.

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An LGBT group carried its own banner for the first time ever in New York City's St. Patrick's Day Parade Tuesday. But Irish gay groups are disappointed that parade organizers selected an employee group from NBC, which is the event's official television broadcaster.

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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.

Many East Asian cultures use zodiac animals to symbolize each New Year and predict a person's fortunes. But which animal represents 2015 is up for debate.

You may have seen goat, sheep or ram as the English translation for this year's animal according to the Chinese zodiac — yang, in Mandarin. All of them are correct, says Lala Zuo, a Chinese language and culture professor at the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland.

"I don't think there's a wrong translation," she says. "I think there are various ways of translation. It really depends on the context."

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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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.

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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The blizzard in New York City has not yet stopped the street crews.

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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.

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio made a pitch for a piece of plastic on Monday — a new ID card for New York City residents, regardless of immigration status.

"One piece of plastic, but it's going to open so many doors for our fellow New Yorkers. It's going to make their lives better," de Blasio said.

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