Nov. 30, 2018

Chanelle Bell MSEd ’16​​​​​​​ has founded a group called “Positively Melanin,” an initiative that uses online videos, Instagram, Facebook, community speaking events and more to link young people of color with professionals and to spread the message: Mentors are all around you.

Chanelle, a participant in the Obama Foundation Community Leadership Corps, launched "Positively Melanin" with the help of the former president’s foundation. The framework for the group came to her three years ago while she was looking for a fellowship to get more professional skills, she said. Chanelle was a preschool teacher on the Far South Side for two years.

“I’m here on the South Side, and all the images I’m consuming from media about people who look like me, who live on the South Side, are all negative images,” she said. “I wanted to combat that negativity with positivity because all the black people I know are beautiful and are doing excellent things and are impacting the world."

The name "Positively Melanin" was given to emphasize that the group wants to highlight positive images of Chicago’s South Side communities and “color the narrative,” Chanelle said. For more information about Positively Melanin, follow it on Instagram and Facebook.

Read more: ‘Positively Melanin,’ Born From An Obama Foundation Project, Helps Young Black Professionals Find Mentors