Mental health is so important. There are so many ways to work on your mental health and meditation is one of them. Julio Rivera, an Afro-Latinx software engineer, was tired of the all-white meditation world he experienced and decided to do something about it. With the help of the Apple App Store’s big presence and marketing tools, Liberate has reached the audience who needs it most.
Julio Rivera is the creator of Liberate, a meditation app.
Rivera started his journey into meditation started five years ago. The practice helped him with managing his stress and anxiety in a natural and healthy way. Rivera had struggled with drugs and alcohol to cope but meditation became a different kind of escape and he wanted to get deeper into it.
“I downloaded an app called Headspace and that’s where my meditation journey began and I really started to notice changes in my stress and anxiety levels,” Rivera says. “From that, I realized, ‘Wow. This was really helping me.’”
Rivera got involved with meditation thanks to an app.
Rivera found Headspace, a meditation app to help him get familiar with meditation. After a while, Rivera wanted a more personal experience in meditation because the app wasn’t cutting it for him because of the overwhelmingly white presence. This was the time before Covid when meeting in person was a safe and acceptable thing to do.
“I started attending different in-person meditation communities in New York City and after trying out a few communities I landed in a community-specific for supporting people of color,” Rivera recalls. “I remember walking into the room and seeing all of these beautiful Black and brown faces, mostly and just feeling at home and at ease. Like I was back with family being a Black and Latinx man.”
Rivera further explains that meditating in predominantly white spaces hinders the healing power of meditation. The lack of Black and brown voices and faces in his previous meditation experiences left him unable to feel completely at ease.
Rivera’s experience in these spaces is why he created Liberate.
Liberate was born of a need to have spaces to talk about, tackle, and dismantle internalized racism that is forced on people. Rivera saw a need for a Black space in the meditation world to give Black people a chance to deal with this issue. Society’s racist ideals have been perpetuated to a point that people have internalized that notion.
“When I looked at apps at the time, nobody was really looking at the experience of some who identifies as Black, indigenous, or a person of color,” Rivera says. “That’s when I felt called to us my background in mobile apps startups. I was a software engineer for a very long time. I felt like this was a calling to be of service and to start Liberate.”
Rivera harnessed his software engineer experience and created a place for Black people to find peace. Liberate is a place for the Black community to work through the anti-Blackness that has been so prevalent in American society for centuries.
Rivera is grateful for Apple’s work in getting Liberate out there.
The Apple App Store has been a driving force in getting Liberate out there to the necessary community. Apple has joined other major companies in highlighting Black-owned and Black-created products. This goes for Liberate.
Liberate was included in a list of apps created by and for communities of color. The collection of apps called “Stand Up to Racism” highlights apps including Liberate, StoryCorps, and Black Nation. The intention is to give people a chance to discover and support Black-owned businesses and apps.
Apple offers a diverse array of apps to support people in various communities. Mental health is very important during Covid and apps like Liberate are paving the way for communities of color to openly discuss the importance of taking care of mental health.
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