Walk good, be well: a student's fight against racism

Marley Ralph leads a session of Walk Good Breathe Good, a free yoga class intended to promote racial justice and community healing. 

With a mixture of love, passion and drive, senior communication studies major Marley Ralph and two of her cousins have successfully organized months of protests, town halls and free yoga classes in response to police brutality against Black people. Following the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, the three began Walk Good LA, an organization set on bringing the community together through anti-racist work and collective healing.

Walk Good LA is Ralph’s first experience being an organizer, and the movement has successfully brought in hundreds of participants over its several-month course. For ten weeks straight, Walk Good LA held anti-racist protests and town halls with “phenomenal” crowds of participants, including supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and actress Karrueche Tran. Ralph likened the organizing to planning a big party, weekend after weekend. “But,” she said, “it’s a party to talk about real intense things that are going on in our world and to fight against the systems that be.”

Additionally, every Sunday Ralph leads a free, one hour yoga class to aid in collective healing. “As much as we want to fight together, we also have to be sure to come back and heal together too, and make sure that we’re taking care of ourselves,” she said, indicating that activist work is difficult work, and that emotional wellbeing is crucial. “When you’re exercising, and your endorphins are flowing, you feel better… so our whole concept behind this is, why not fight and feel better together?”. Each week, Ralph’s yoga class brings in more than a hundred participants.

All of the events — the protests, town halls, yoga classes and more — are free. If people choose to donate, a large percentage of the donations are spread out among different branches of Black Lives Matter. “It’s really cool because, it’s like the money that is being earned is being circulated through the community and through other organizations to make sure that we’re all able to sustain these events,” Ralph said.

Walk Good LA has a full weekend of events planned for Oct. 2 through Oct. 4, which all will take place at LA High Memorial Park, including:

Break Down the Ballot: This event will go over everything that Californians can vote for in the upcoming election. It will be held on Oct. 2 at 7 p.m., and will include vendors, DJs and additional entertainment.

#2wiceAsHard: This protest, rally and town hall will take place on Oct. 3 at 3 p.m.

Silent Cinema: The film "The Great Debaters" will be showing in the park on Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. This film is a true story about a Black college debate team in the 1930s.

Walk Good Breathe Good: This free event is a one-hour yoga class with Marley Ralph on Oct. 4 at 10 a.m.

Sol and Sound: At 4 p.m. on Oct. 4, Walk Good LA will be hosting a healing sound bath.

In addition, Walk Good LA hosts a 5k run every Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Mid Wilshire. To RSVP, or for more information, visit their website or their Instagram, @WalkGoodLA.

Right now, Walk Good LA is focused on voter-education. But as Ralph said, “if you are in L.A., there is a community that is here for you that you can be a part of… through COVID-19, through Breonna Taylor, through George Floyd, through every other black and brown person that has been affected by police brutality, I just want people to know that we hear you, we see you, and we are here with open arms whenever [you’re] ready to come out.”

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