Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Walk Good LA Celebrates Two Years

Etienne Maurice, founder of Walk Good LA, leading a yoga session at Memorial Park (photo by Kavi Peshawaria)


While it started as a form of racial justice protest, Walk Good LA has morphed into a life-affirming nonprofit focusing on healing bodies and communities at the same time.

Two years ago, Etienne Maurice, who grew up in Brookside, felt frustrated and trapped in his house by COVID-19 when he heard the news of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.

“He was killed for just being himself; he was doing things he shouldn’t be killed for,” Maurice told the Buzz.

Then came the news of George Floyd’s killing. Maurice decided it was time to take action. He was looking for a constructive way to give voice to his frustration and had participated in a run for social justice on the East Coast. He liked the idea of being active outside in community with others. As the son of actress Sheryl Lee Ralph and an actor himself, Maurice had built up a following on social media and felt like he could do something to organize for change.

In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Sentinel, Maurice recounted the early days of Walk Good LA:

“I first started “Walk Good, Run Good: Twice As Hard To Protest,” then I decided to call it “WalkGood LA”, to make it more inclusive, so that we could build a community around it.”

We went to LA High Memorial Park, which is down the street from my house, and we started protesting every Saturday. The first protest, we had over 400 people show up in solidarity, to get their bodies moving and to also fight for those who were no longer here with us, taken at the hands of racial injustice.

When my cousin Marley, who’s a yoga instructor, began leading stretches, it was like a light bulb went off, ‘We should do yoga in the park!’ And the next week, the day after Juneteenth, we did “BreatheGood” and about 35 people showed up. That next week we doubled in size to 50 people, then 100 people the following week and then we were taking over the entire park. At that point, we knew we couldn’t just stop, and here we are two years later continuing to breathe for those that are no longer able to breathe with us. WalkGood is a living, breathing memorial to all those that we’ve lost. And it’s definitely been a resource and a tool for me and so many others to grieve and mourn those that we’ve lost on what seems to be a daily basis at the hands of racial injustice.”


Maurice told us the program soon started to develop a following, often drawing several hundred people each week. The word spread on social media and some learned about it from driving by the park. In April of this year, we published Buzz photography contributor Charlie Hess’s images documenting the feel-good vibe of people doing yoga in the park. There’s something magical about doing yoga outside under the trees, which somehow manage to mask the traffic on Olympic Blvd.


Yoga at Memorial Park (photo by Charlie Hess)


The Walk Good LA name was inspired by Maurice’s grandmother, who “would remind me to ‘walk good’ every time I would leave the house,” Maurice told the LA Sentinel. “She was Jamaican so ‘walk good’ is a Jamaican euphemism that many of the elders actually use on a daily basis to remind their children to take care and be well. So I thought what better way to honor my Jamaican grandmother and my heritage than to call my community “WalkGood.””

Discovering yoga was a turning point for Maurice, who is very candid about his own journey as a victim of gun violence and his struggles with alcohol. He said that if he’d known the peace he’s found through yoga, he might have acted differently. He said that COVID has also motivated him to change, and now he wants to  share the peacefulness of the practice with other African Americans who may not be comfortable going to a traditional yoga studio.

Maurice credits his cousin, Marley Rae, a yoga instructor who introduced him to yoga, and his sister Coco Maurice as his co-founders, saying this is a “legit family operation.”

Over the last two years,  Maurice studied to be become a yoga instructor and Walk Good LA has branched out in to other areas beyond yoga in the park. A producer and creative entrepreneur, he has also created Walk Good LA merchandise, travel opportunities and red carpet celebrity events dubbed “Roots and Culture,” all spreading the message of turning “pain into purpose.”

“Think about how you can be a blessing to someone and how you’re able to show gratitude for being alive,” Maurice told the LA Sentinel. “When I look at all of my life experiences, I tell God, ‘Thank You.’ You spared my life and I’m here for a bigger purpose’ and I think WalkGood is that purpose.”


Etienne Maurice with his mother, actress and singer Sheryl Lee Ralph, at Memorial Park on Easter Sunday. (photo by Kavi Peshawaria)


As Memorial Park started to overflow with flow yoga participants, Maurice heard some neighbors were complaining, so he found another location at Kenneth Hahn Park that welcomed the nearly 400 people that usually come every Sunday. When we started talking to Maurice last winter about why he and Walk Good LA left Memorial Park, he also told us he would love to come back.

“It’s my neighborhood and it’s where we started, so we’d love to come back and we’re happy do whatever the city wants us to do.” said Maurice.

Curious, we called the City of LA Department of Recreation and Parks to check on complaints or restrictions at the park. Spokesperson Rose Watson spent quite some time looking into the matter, and finally told us her office didn’t have a record of any formal complaints. Programs like Walk Good LA are exactly what people should be doing in our city parks, Watson told us.

Recently Maurice has brought Walk Good LA back to Memorial Park for special occasions like Easter Sunday, as well as Father’s Day and Juneteenth this past weekend. When we stopped by, there were more than 100 people enjoying yoga in the park.

Maybe Walk Good LA has outgrown Memorial Park, but it’s sure nice to have it return home where it all began two years ago, even if it’s just for special occasions.


Walk Good LA yoga at Memorial Park on Father’s Day.


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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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  1. Standing up and stretching for racial justice. Under the trees that help us breathe better. I love this story. Happy Juneteenth!


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