This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Everyone makes assumptions about people they don’t know. Melanie will teach us to recognize these assumptions and work toward a common understanding. Ms. Melanie Funchess is currently employed by the Mental Health Association where she serves as the Director of Community Engagement. She is also involved in several community based coalitions and organizations such as the African American Leadership Development Program, African American Health Coalition, Black Women’s Leadership Forum, Greater Rochester Parent Leadership Training Institute, the Mental Health Promotion Task Force, and the Neighborhood Consortium for Youth Justice.
She is a founding member of the Coalition for the Beloved Community. The Coalition’s mission is to serve as a “countywide movement to build a culture of peace; grounded in dignity and fed by hope”. She is a devoted wife and mother of four children (two boys and two girls) three of whom experience mental/ emotional challenges. Her mission is to use her knowledge of systems and communities to create opportunities for youth and families to be empowered and successful and to break down the walls that separate us and build bridges to unite us as one community where every child is our own, we have front porch neighborhoods, and we use language that respects everyone.