What started as just cousins meeting up to do yoga in their mom and aunt's backyard— who happens to be none other than the legendary Sheryl Lee Ralph—has now blossomed into one of Los Angeles' largest wellness organizations. Siblings Etienne and Ivy-Victoria Maurice, along with their cousin Marley Ralph, founded WalkGood LA in 2020, as a way to help the Los Angeles community not only decompress weekly but also release built up frustrations from the varying social justice issues happening in the country and even the world.

"As the protests were coming in full storm, Etienne was really moved by the death of Ahmaud Arbery," says Ivy-Victoria Maurice. "He said, 'I don't know exactly what we're going to do, but we're going to dress up in all black and lead a run.' Our first event was actually a protest run, and people like Karrueche [Tran] even showed up. Marley led some stretches using her yoga skills, and we were able to lead this amazing protest. But, Etienne really wanted to keep the momentum going."

The trio continued the runs along with a series of yoga and meditation meet-ups—led by Marley—which they coined BreatheGood. After weeks of consistently seeing dozens of people show up for their installations, they knew this was something that was much bigger than what they could have initially imagined.

"WalkGood LA is now our bigger umbrella," shares Marley Ralph. "Under that is BreatheGood which is our yoga classes in the park every Sunday. We have RunGood which is our running club in Mid-City every Wednesday, typically in the spring and summer. And we have HikeGood every second Sunday of the month. We've also ventured out into other things like PaintGood, a paint and mediation group led by Ron Bass and FightGood community self-defense classes. But BreatheGood has really been the staple for us to introduce people to our activations."

Image: Joshua Kissi.

With the success of the meet-ups and even people mentioning how certain activations have saved their lives, the group understands that they now have a responsibility to their communities to continue to hold space every week for Black and Brown bodies.

"We don't want to be just another statistic of an organization that leaves its community high and dry," says Etienne Maurice. "We're a brand that people really rely on every Saturday or Sunday. We reinforce the notion that Black Lives Matter just by showing up. It's more than a brand and even more than a community. It's a family. I feel as if the people who are a part of our family resonate with our mission, and they feel welcomed whenever they participate. The only way we can heal as a people is if we offer and hold safe and welcoming spaces. We've all experienced some type of trauma, but often lack the vocabulary, people and resources to work through it. So we aim to serve as a vessel to inspire and impact more people."

In addition to all the already amazing programming created by the group, Etienne also hosts a monthly Black men's healing circle in collaboration with Black Boys OM, Inc. called YouGood? The circle is open to anyone who identifies as male, and is LGBTQIA+ friendly as well.

"After having conversations with my boys, we realized there weren't many spaces for Black men and men of color to be vulnerable and be in community with other Black men to try different healing modalities,"Etienne shares. "We do yoga, sound baths, meditation and even journaling. We're changing lives and men are really opening up and sharing their feelings."

All WalkGood LA events and activations are donation based, and the founders simply ask that you bring your mat and good vibes. But even if you forget your mat, they have you covered. They also accept donations in the form of water and are always seeking volunteers.

"While we hold space in the wellness category, we also want to hold space for those in the entertainment community, too. We are proud to present our new program, FilmGood, a quarterly film festival for underrepresented filmmakers. We think it's important to expand our community, so we can find that intersectionality between wellness and entertainment," adds Etienne.