Insights and musings on health and happiness


If last year has taught me anything it’s that I have a lot of learning left to do. I thought growing up in this neighborhood gave me grit and wisdom beyond my years. As I was finishing middle school at the ripe age of 14, Richmond’s murder rate earned it the nickname of “murder capital” of the country. I thought I was exposed to everything and understood all walks of life. I could not have been more wrong. I couldn’t understand someone who lived in a small town where everyone knew everything about you, a big city where you only saw the sky through one room in your apartment, or the suburbs in a cookie cutter house where everything was conveniently planned to make life easier. I still can’t. Even as I communicate these other experiences to you, my biases are coming out.

We all have biases, and we all have different backgrounds. It is so easy for me to look at a situation from my perspective, but a lot harder trying to see it from someone else’s point of view. I don’t understand what it’s like to be a person of color in a country that has enslaved and demonized my race, with targeted policies that directly impact black people.

While the news cycle has moved on since its focus on the Black Lives Matter movement this past summer, I am reminded that the issue of racial injustice and inequality hasn’t ended since the statues on Monument Avenue came down. Just because the news networks stopped reporting on the BLM movement in deference to a national election, a holiday season, and the FDA approval of a COVID vaccine, does not mean this issue is solved. As with a lot of things, it comes down to the community to address problems at the people level. I wanted to do my part by supporting the BLM movement, but I was overwhelmed with the options available. Organizations and fundraising efforts dedicated to victims funds, bail funds for protestors, Black LGBTQ support, youth engagement, community enhancement, and more exist.

The New York Magazine put together a list of organizations grouped by mission statement that can be used to support this movement in the way you, as an individual, see best. You can read the article here (https://nymag.com/strategist/article/where-to-donate-for-black-lives-matter.html).

Over the last year, I’ve tried to educate myself and see what I personally can do to help. I think it’s important that we, as a neighborhood, signal our support of a unified community committed to diversity – diversity of race, sexual orientation, thoughts, interests, and perspectives. One item that I am passionate about is helping to fundraise for a mural that will be on the north edge of True North Yoga & Wellness on MacArthur. The mural’s vision is to show the strength in our community and our commitment to diversity. If you would like to donate to the Mural for Unity and support a well-renowned, local Northside artist, you can do so here (https://www.gofundme.com/f/mural-for-unity).

A resolution I have made in light of all that is going on – I am going to try to see past differences, including political sides however far left or right leaning. I am going to try to understand opposing viewpoints and recognize that not all backgrounds are created equal. I’m going to stop putting up walls and start learning how we became so polarized, racist, sexist, entitled, and unable to alter our thoughts or beliefs. We as a community need to be better about seeing it from someone else’s perspective. Let’s start understanding and being more giving to others and their causes.


Aliza Sterling

Influenced by teachers, peers, students, 200YTT in Integral Yoga in Rishikesh, India, and other travels, Aliza creates a supportive environment with a focus on individual empowerment in the classroom. She started True North Yoga and Wellness with the desire to bring the Northside community together.

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