Me and Prop. 16

Photo by Susan Gold on Unsplash

In the 1980s I was a high school student applying to college. I was a good student at a Jesuit high school in the midwest, and only applied to good colleges. I was fortunate to get accepted by many of them.

In my circle of friends I don’t remember anyone who went on college tours, and I don’t think my parents or I ever considered seeing any of the schools where I had been accepted. …


Preventing a fight over a defective jelly donut.

Photo by Anna Sullivan on Unsplash

It was around 2 am. I’d been working late, and I was starving. Driving home, I realized I probably had nothing to eat at home, so I started thinking of places that might be open at that time of night. I was on 24th Street in the Mission and I couldn’t think of much: the diner on Church near Market, maybe somewhere in the Castro… Then I remembered the all-night donut shop in Noe Valley and headed up there, hoping to score a jelly donut.

I parked on 24th Street and entered the store. There was one guy behind the…


Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Photo by Hu Chen

Tracking my maternal lineage over the past several million years

I’ve been interested in seeing where I fit into the scheme of human history. And by history, I mean the last 5–7 million years since the hominids diverged from Gorillas, Bonobos and, finally, Chimpanzees. There is nothing special about that starting point. It is not even a defined point; more of a very slow separation from the chimpanzee lineage.

In this long view of history, I am African. I may see myself as an American of European descent, but that part of my history has lasted at most 15,000 years…

John Somoza

Scientist, citizen.

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