Our Favorite Essays of 2022

From Behind Prison Walls to a Container Ship Out at Sea to the World’s Largest Refugee Camp, Zócalo’s Contributors Traversed the World to Report on the Human Condition

In 2022, Zócalo’s contributors reported from the front lines of a changing world, looking to foster conversation—and curiosity—about the way we live now.

While selecting just 10 essays from the scores we’ve published this year is no easy task, the ones we’ve highlighted below reflect the best of Zócalo’s special, eclectic blend of ideas journalism with a head and heart. From a first-hand account of incarceration, to a case for how the global fight against authoritarianism can begin in your backyard, to even why, when feeling adrift, one might consider passage by …

California Doesn’t Need a New Abortion Measure | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

California Doesn’t Need a New Abortion Measure

Prop 1 Might Have Good Intentions, But It Puts Fundamental Rights at Risk

California’s leaders shouldn’t put fundamental rights up for a vote. But the legislature and governor have nonetheless chosen to add Proposition 1 to this November’s ballot.

At first glance, Prop 1 …

Carmel’s Cautionary Tale for Post-Roe America | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Carmel’s Cautionary Tale for Post-Roe America

Poet Nora May French’s Account of Her 1907 Abortion Is an Infuriating Read—and a Sobering Reminder of What History Omits

I am no longer able to think of Carmel without thinking of abortion and Nora May French.

For this new habit of mind, I blame two things: the U.S. Supreme Court, …

tktk | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Can California Lead a Reproductive Justice Movement?

From Sister-Friends to ‘Full-Spectrum’ Doulas, the Golden State May Be a Model for Care

As the full weight of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade bears down on the nation, California is seeking to become a sanctuary state for reproductive rights. …

Is It Time for California to Go?

America Keeps Failing the Golden State—And the Supreme Court Decisions on Abortion, Guns, and the Environment Are Pushing Us to the Edge

To encourage us to think about the unthinkable, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists sets a Doomsday Clock, showing how close humanity is (in metaphorical minutes and seconds) to the …

How My Republican Grandfather Helped Legalize Abortion

In Colorado, Mid-Century Environmentalists Were ‘Uneasy Allies’ in the Fight for Reproductive Rights

In winter 1967, a young Democratic state representative named Richard Lamm introduced an abortion liberalization bill in Colorado’s House of Representatives. The bill passed quickly and moved onto the Senate, …