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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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.

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.

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The law, formally repealed by Congress 70 years ago Tuesday, prompted tens of thousands of Chinese to use forged papers to enter the U.S. illegally.

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We're reporting today on the passing of Nelson Mandela. The Nobel laureate and first black president of South Africa died yesterday at 95. Many here in the United States felt a connection to Mandela, among them former President Bill Clinton. He spoke recently to CBS News about Mandela's legacy.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill face a lengthy to-do list before they head home for the holidays. Near the top is an issue deemed a priority after last year's election — immigration reform. So far, only the Senate has passed a bill.

Despite the standstill, supporters of immigration reform are pushing to keep the issue alive on a crowded legislative slate.

President Abraham Lincoln stood on a battlefield in Gettysburg, Pa., 150 years ago and declared "a new birth of freedom" for the nation.

That same year, an African-American man named Lewis Henry Bailey experienced his own rebirth. At age 21, Bailey was freed from slavery in Texas. His journey began in Virginia, where he was sold as a child in a slave jail.

A cast of New York lawyers and a federal judge debuted a new production on Friday off-off Broadway — all the way in Kansas City, Mo.

Attorneys have gathered there for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association's annual convention. For the past seven years, the meeting has featured dramatic re-enactments of historic trials involving Asian-Americans.

Howard University, one of the country's most prominent historically black schools, has hit a rough patch in recent months.

The school's Faculty Senate recently voted no confidence in leaders of the school's Board of Trustees. That vote came just weeks after Howard's president announced a surprise early retirement and Moody's Investors Service downgraded the university's credit rating, as my Code Switch teammate Gene Demby has reported.

The New York state attorney general's office has opened an investigation on department stores Barneys. The retailers are in hot water after recent claims of racial profiling of African-American shoppers.

Douglas Lee thought he knew just about everything about the family business.

Since the late 1930s, the Lee family has sold insurance at 31 Pell Street in New York City's Chinatown. Their entrepreneurial roots in the Chinese-American community stretch back to 1888, when the Lees opened a grocery store at the same location.

Twenty months after it first took pop culture by storm, the global sports craze known as "Linsanity" has found a revival on screen.

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Washington, D.C.'s Capitol Hill was the scene of a car chase today that ended not far from the halls of Congress. A Capitol police officer was injured and is being treated at an area hospital. Police say it was an isolated incident with no links to terrorism. NPR's Hansi Lo Wang was on the scene after the shooting and sent this report.

The latest estimate by the Pew Research Center puts the number of immigrants living illegally in the U.S. at 11.7 million.

This new number, based on U.S. government data, can be found in a report released Monday titled "Population Decline of Unauthorized Immigrants Stalls, May Have Reversed." The key word in that headline is "may." As the authors write in the report:

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And the shooter is known to have been, as we've just reported, a former Navy reservist. But DC's police chief did say yesterday that no active duty servicemembers were killed, no one in uniform. The dead included contractors and civilians, apparently. And to learn more now about those victims of yesterday's shooting, we turn to NPR's Hansi Lo Wang.

And what are you hearing from the people for whom this is a personal tragedy - that is, those who knew one or more of these victims?

President Obama's speech capped a day of festivities in Washington, D.C. that began with a march across the National Mall. That's where thousands gathered against a backdrop of tight security and rainy weather. On the white marble steps of the Lincoln Memorial, national leaders took turns addressing the crowd.

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The conviction this week of mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger put an end to one of Boston's highest-profile crime sagas.

Less well-known, though, is the case of John Willis, a white man from Dorchester, Mass., who was sentenced in federal court on Thursday to 20 years in prison for drug trafficking and money laundering.

Talk about immigration reform on Capitol Hill this summer has raised the hopes of many unauthorized immigrants around the country.

It's also raised the fears of consumer advocates worried about scam artists who promise immigrants they can help them secure legal status.

Eduardo Flores, an unauthorized immigrant from Honduras, wasn't promised immigration documents, but he did place his trust and $4,000 with a man who said he was an immigration attorney.

UPDATE July 24, 2013: The South Carolina Supreme Court denied a petition for rehearing and ordered Baby Veronica's adoption by the Capobiancos finalized, as reported by NPR's Nina Totenberg.


Less than a month after the U.S. Supreme Court sent an unusually messy child custody case back to the lower courts, South Carolina's Supreme Court has ruled to end the long-running saga of Baby Veronica, Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl.

As the nation waits for the jury's verdict on George Zimmerman, community leaders in Florida are in place, prepared for a big public reaction.

Government and law enforcement officials say they're hoping for the best with any demonstrations that may come after the verdict. But they're also preparing for the worst – rising tensions that could escalate violently.

An 'Opportunity' For Peace?

The U.S.-Mexico border plays a starring role in the new FX series The Bridge.

Characters in the television crime drama, which premieres Wednesday night, regularly cross back and forth through the border between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. The show's dialogue also frequently switches between English and Spanish, setting a new standard for bilingual drama on American television.

Since the Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act in June, many questions have emerged about what the ruling may mean for same-sex couples.

There's one question, though, that would seem easy to answer: How many legal same-sex marriages are there in the U.S.?

The Limitations Of Self-Reporting

It turns out the answer is actually very complicated — so complicated that even experts such as Bob Witeck, president and founder of Witeck Communications, a marketing firm specializing in gay and lesbian consumers, are stumped.

The empire of Paula Deen is crumbling.

Sears and Walgreens are among the latest companies cutting business ties with the celebrity chef, and Ballantine Books has announced that it will no longer publish her cookbooks.

Baby Veronica still does not have a permanent home.

The adopted, 3-year-old Native American girl has been caught in the middle of an emotional custody battle that reached all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, whose ruling on Tuesday sided with her white adoptive parents, Matt and Melanie Capobianco.

The national debate over immigration may be churning on in Washington, D.C., but there's one policy a growing number of states can agree on: driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants.

Vermont, Connecticut and Colorado passed new laws this month allowing drivers without Social Security numbers to receive licenses or authorization cards. They join Nevada, Maryland and Oregon, whose governors signed similar laws in May. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn started the trend this year when he signed Senate Bill 957 in January.

It's not often an 11-year-old boy gets to sing the national anthem twice during the NBA Finals.

But, as our friends at The Two-Way reported, it's been a surprising week for Sebastien de la Cruz of San Antonio.

Marching bands, beauty queens and Chita Rivera are set to make their way down New York City's Fifth Avenue on Sunday for the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade.

With 80,000 marchers and 2 million onlookers, the event is one of the country's biggest ethnic celebrations.

In the run-up to the parade, rows of street vendors have lined up north of the parade route, in New York's East Harlem neighborhood — also known as Spanish Harlem for the wave of Puerto Ricans that settled here after World War II.

One-and-a-half million Americans today claim Arab ancestry, according to a new Census Bureau report.

That's less than 1 percent of the total U.S. population.

Still, Maryam Asi, a demographer at the Census Bureau who co-wrote the report, says the Arab-American community is "growing," with a 76 percent increase since 1990 and 25 percent increase since 2000.

After last week's deadly tornado in Moore, Okla,, hundreds of homes were damaged. Maurice Smith is optimistic about the future in Moore. So much so, he is planning to build a new home and sell the old one without an agent. And he expects it will be snapped up quickly. The reason? Displaced residents are looking for homes, and his has a storm shelter.

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