We Are Reckless: A Crime Is Being Committed ~ By Melanie Funchess

We Are Reckless: A Crime Is Being Committed ~   By Melanie Funchess


A crime is being committed in my community.
The crime is Reckless Endangerment. Who is committing this crime? We are!! Recklessrec
Endangerment is a crime consisting of acts that create a substantial risk of serious injury to another person. The accused person isn’t required to intend the potential or resulting harm, but must have acted in a way that showed a disregard for the foreseeable consequences of the actions. I contend that the behavior of our community toward us constitutes Reckless Endangerment. The behavior of our community, whether intended or not, creates substantial risk of
physical and emotional harm. What grieves me the most is the fact that we, as a people, have become RECKLESS. We have become reckless with ourselves and reckless with one another. We have seemingly forgotten the rich history from
which we come. We have forgotten the deep sacrifices of the ancestors on whose shoulders we stand. We have forgotten the gift that we have been given, the gift that is life and breath itself. We handle each other recklessly in the way we address each other and the way we allow others to address us. We are reckless in our self-care and our self-talk. We are reckless with our children. What we allow them to see, hear, experience, feel, and know as their reality. We are recklessly abandoning our children by not owning EVERY CHILD
as our own. We have recklessly abandoned the village, leaving all of its protective and nurturing ways to wither like unwatered grass in the summer sun. We have recklessly created the “other” within ourselves. We have recklessly disconnected ourselves from the very thing that served as our life force—our communal nature. We have gone from “I am because we all are” to “My four and no more.” I am sick and tired of my people living sick and dying tired!!! That all being said, I would like to offer this: it’s not too late!! We can rebuild. We have the technology (to quote a popular 70’s show). We can make it better, smarter, faster. The Bible says (and I’m sure other spiritual books as well) that God chooses the young because they are strong and He chooses
the old because they know the way. Let us come together, young and old, and let us rebuild the village. Let us look to the elders and ask for guidance, let them teach us the lessons of our history. Let us look to the youth, ask them to teach us the social technology of this new age (and I don’t mean Twitter), the language, the philosophies, the lessons. Let those of us in the
middle use our collective strength to take our collective knowledge and participate in collective action to move us forward into a brighter future. A future where the ancient and the modern technologies are woven together into a newer, stronger tapestry that tells the story of a magnificent people.


Melanie Funchess is the Director of Community Engagement for the Mental Health Association. She presents and trains locally and nationally in the areas of cultural competence, community partnership building, and mental health in communities of color.

Contact: mfunchess@mharochester.org