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 …

The Pain of Surviving the San Fernando Valley Can Make You Powerful

In Two Memoirs, Activist Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Comedian-Actress Tiffany Haddish Reveal How ’90s L.A. Shaped Them

How can Californians rise from horrific local circumstances to national influence?

Two recent books offer one answer: It may help to have grown up amid the racism and institutional failures of …

Becoming a Valley Girl

I’ve Found a Great Arts Scene in the San Fernando Valley. Now I’m Helping Build a New Space for Artists to Come Together.

I live in the San Fernando Valley.

I never dreamed I would ever say these words. I grew up on the Westside of Los Angeles in the 1970s, and the part …

The Daily Dose

Inspiration in L.A.’s Arts District

In L.A., I am known as a Valley guy. I represented the San Fernando Valley when I served in the State Legislature and when I was speaker of the Assembly. …

My Clockwork Orange

Finding Cohesion on Metro

They say that nobody rides public transportation In Los Angeles. If that’s true, then every week I ride with a few more than 20,000 “nobodies” traveling through the deep recesses …