Julio Rivera is the founder of Liberate, a meditation app designed by and for the Black community.
When Rivera was 26 years old, on paper he had it made. He had gotten his long-awaited promotion, was making six-figures and in a relationship. But he still felt burnt out and lost. He turned to meditation, which would soon change the programmer’s life.
“I turned 26 and had finally gotten the promotion that I worked so hard day and night for, accept I was extremely burnt out,” Rivera told In The Know. “It was this interesting moment for me in my life because I had closely identified as being a programmer for all my life and here I was leading engineering teams for building mobile apps, I was working on Wall Street, I was making six-figures, I had a partner and yet I felt a deep hole inside of me like I wasn’t fulfilled. I was depressed, I was burnt out and I was really struggling with my mental health.”
Meditation turned Rivera’s lifestyle around and inspired him to do the same for others — particularly those within the Black community.
“That really helped me to start to change the way I was dealing with my stress and my anxiety,” Rivera said. “I was struggling to progress further with meditation so I started meditating in different communities in New York City, physical spaces and I found a community that was specifically designated for people of color. So there was this sense of safety, this sense of ease. The sense of ability to kind of let my guard down and take this kind of armor I walk around life with and really allow myself to experience being in this healing safe space.”
Liberate’s meditation teachers are all people of color and the app’s content is tailored for its diverse users.
“We create content that is mindful,” Rivera said. “There’s something powerful about being guided by someone who looks and sounds like you.”
Rivera has big hopes for the app and how it can transform the Black community.
“I set out to start this because the vision that I had seen was everybody who was Black and Brown in America opening Liberate to meditate daily,” Rivera said. “People who have struggled with meditating and making it more a part of their lifestyle, now find it easier because of Liberate.”
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