While biking around Lake Merritt on a recent spring morning in Oakland, Calif., Morgan Tyson saw something that made him stop: Two men at a pull-up bar were laughing, lifting dumbbells and blasting 1990s hip-hop from a speaker -- and they had the whole place to themselves. Tyson, 68, has never been a member of a gym, and he hadn't lifted a weight since 2018, when he finished nearly four decades in San Quentin State Prison. He asked the men if he could join their workout. "I told them that if my past is a problem, I could leave," Tyson said. "But they opened their arms to me." That workout group of just three in April has grown to 30 people of all backgrounds gathering daily on a vast lawn, creating a sense of community that many felt had disappeared over months of lockdown and seeing news of police brutality and racial divisiveness. "It's a beautiful thing that started organically happening," Brandon Bailey said. "It's new friends. It's no judgment. It's what we all need right now."

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