Leila Fadel

Leila Fadel is a national correspondent for NPR based in Los Angeles, covering issues of culture, diversity, and race.

Most recently, she was NPR's international correspondent based in Cairo and covered the wave of revolts in the Middle East and their aftermaths in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, and beyond. Her stories brought us to the heart of a state-ordered massacre of pro-Muslim Brotherhood protesters in Cairo in 2013 when police shot into crowds of people to clear them and killed between 1,000 and 2,000 people. She told us the tales of a coup in Egypt and what it is like for a country to go through a military overthrow of an elected government. She covered the fall of Mosul to ISIS in 2014 and documented the harrowing tales of the Yazidi women who were kidnapped and enslaved by the group. Her coverage also included stories of human smugglers in Egypt and the Syrian families desperate and willing to pay to risk their lives and cross a turbulent ocean for Europe.

She was awarded the Lowell Thomas Award from the Overseas Press Club for her coverage of the 2013 coup in Egypt and the toll it took on the country and Egyptian families. In 2017 she earned a Gracie award for the story of a single mother in Tunisia whose two eldest daughters were brainwashed and joined ISIS. The mother was fighting to make sure it didn't happen to her younger girls.

Before joining NPR, she covered the Middle East for The Washington Post as the Cairo Bureau Chief. Prior to her position as Cairo Bureau Chief for the Post, she covered the Iraq war for nearly five years with Knight Ridder, McClatchy Newspapers, and later the Washington Post. Her foreign coverage of the devastating human toll of the Iraq war earned her the George. R. Polk award in 2007. In 2016 she was the Council on Foreign Relations Edward R. Murrow fellow.

Leila Fadel is a Lebanese-American journalist who speaks conversational Arabic and was raised in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

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Companies are bringing workers back. Some essential employees never stopped. NPR's Leila Fadel spent the morning on a Los Angeles public bus with one of them.

As of Friday in Texas, you can go to a tanning salon. In Indiana, houses of worship are being allowed to open with no cap on attendance. Places like Pennsylvania are taking a more cautious approach, only starting to ease restrictions in some counties based on the number of COVID-19 cases.

By Monday, at least 31 states will have partially reopened after seven weeks of restrictions. The moves come as President Trump pushes for the country to get back to work despite public health experts warning that it's too soon.

Updated at 9:00 a.m. ET

Michelle Sweeney could barely sleep. The nurse in Plymouth, Mass., had just learned she would be furloughed. She only had four hours the next day to call all of her patients.

"I was in a panic state. I was sick over it," Sweeney said. "Our patients are the frailest, sickest group."

Sweeney works for Atrius Health as a case manager for patients with chronic health conditions and those who have been discharged from the hospital or emergency room.

In their tiny apartment just outside Minneapolis, Sarah Alfaham directs her husband Mohamed Ahmed to hold up the gold curtains she picked up at Walmart.

She takes a look.

"I like it," she says.

With thumbtacks, string and dowels, Alfaham fashions a canopy in the corner of their living room with a homemade navy blue and gold "Ramadan Mubarak" sign underneath. On the floor is a prayer rug.

"It's just really creating a mosque feel inside your house in a sense. I don't know how else to do it," she says with a laugh.

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Cars line up in a parking lot outside what is usually a co-working space for women of color in Culver City, Calif. But on this day, it's a makeshift lab for free, rapid antibody testing. These tests are supposed to detect an infection with or past exposure to the novel coronavirus.

Marilyn Arrington is inside her car, speaking to a doctor in Chicago via video chat. A volunteer wearing a mask holds up a tablet computer making this interaction possible.

"Coughing?"

"No."

"Fever?"

"No."

At one New York City hospital, a doctor's used mask tore as she performed CPR on her infected patient.

In Seattle, a nurse compares walking into her intensive care unit to bathing in COVID-19.

And in St. Louis, a nurse slips her used N95 mask into a paper bag at the end of her shift and prays that it's disinfected properly.

These are scenes playing out in hospitals across the country, based on interviews with more than a dozen residents, doctors and nurses who go into work every day feeling unprotected from the disease they're supposed to treat.

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Neilly Buckalew is a traveling doctor who fills in at hospitals when there's need. So in the midst of this pandemic, she feels particularly vulnerable to contracting the coronavirus — not just in hospitals but in hotels and on her travels.

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On Mondays and Tuesdays, Jessica's daughter is supposed to stay overnight with her in Brooklyn, N.Y., but that's all changed with the coronavirus outbreak.

"I have to just do FaceTime, video conference and three-way calls," Jessica says. "I can't see her anymore, for now."

California Gov. Gavin Newsom took the dramatic step this week of ordering the state's nearly 40 million residents to stay at home. That order on Thursday was followed by similar orders in states including New York, Illinois and Nevada.

These were actions welcomed by health care professionals who are trying to prepare hospitals even in the midst of the pandemic, as they watch the Italian hospitals buckle under the demand of the fast-spreading virus.

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As a composer, producer, keyboardist and vocalist, Sergio Mendes helped pioneer the bossa nova movement and popularize Brazilian music globally with his band, Brasil 66. In his over 60-year career, Mendes has been one of the most explorative collaborators in world music, working with everyone from the Black Eyed Peas to jazz great Cannonball Adderley. His new album, In The Key Of Joy, is out now.

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Singer, writer and producer Natasha Khan moved to LA to write scripts and music for film after her 2016 release, The Bride. The release marked the end of her recording contract with EMI and she wasn't sure she'd write another album as Bat for Lashes.

A new documentary, Black Patriots: Heroes of the Revolution, introduces us to heroes of the American Revolution who aren't typically found in history books. They are a writer, a double agent, a martyr and a soldier — and they are all black.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the executive producer. He is a Hall of Fame basketball player, writer, activist, and in 2016 the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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LEILA FADEL, HOST:

America is becoming more racially diverse. And in a growing number of counties, whites are no longer the majority. Some have greeted these changing demographics with fear, others have embraced it. And parties that have reached out to new voters of color are winning races.

For my day job here at NPR, I cover identity, race and culture. And in 2019, there was no shortage of stories to tell.

This summer I met a girl named Katy Martinez — she was 16 and bubbly and spoke so fast she would forget to take breaths between sentences. She was obsessed with dance and like most teens spent a lot of time on her phone. But in the past year, something had started to bother her. She noticed people making assumptions about her based on her name and her ethnicity. She was born in Las Vegas; her parents came from El Salvador.

It's billed as one of the most livable places in the country with its good schools, leafy streets and safe neighborhoods. That's what makes Boise, Idaho, an odd backdrop for a heated legal fight around homelessness that is reverberating across the western United States and may soon be taken up by the Supreme Court.

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Nearly two years ago NPR profiled Usama Canon, a celebrated Muslim preacher facing his own mortality. He'd been public about his diagnosis of Lou Gehrig's disease, or ALS, a degenerative neurologic condition that robs people of their ability to move, to speak. Eventually it takes your life.

More than 200 years ago, in January of 1811, a group of enslaved people on a plantation on the outskirts of New Orleans rose up, armed themselves and began a long march toward the city. Hundreds would join them along the way. Their goal: to free every slave they found and then seize the Crescent City.

For years, poet Reginald Dwayne Betts hid the fact that he had served time in prison.

Betts, a lawyer who was sworn into the Connecticut bar two years ago, is finishing up his PhD at Yale University, where he also earned his law degree.

But in his latest collection of poems, titled Felon, this once secret part of his identity is a central feature. In raw, emotional language, Betts uses his experiences in the criminal justice system — he served time from ages 16 to 24 — to challenge our understanding of incarceration and freedom.

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