Jordan Edelheit | Breaking Stereotypes, Building Empathy

The U.S. holds only five percent of the global population but 25% of the incarcerated population. Jordan Edelheit believes we can transform our society and better understand the mass incarceration problem that exists here by putting a face to these statistics. Some of the most positive disruptors are those working at Marion Correctional Institution (MCI), a 2,700-men prison in Marion, Ohio. Officials there use Skype to facilitate conversations between audiences and incarcerated men; the resulting conversations on incarceration, justice, and humanity have the unique power to build empathy, understanding, and awareness of our shared humanity.

While an undergrad at Ohio State, Jordan Edelheit fell in love with TED's mission of "ideas worth spreading" and began organizing TEDx events. In addition to TEDxOhioStateUniversity, Edelheit was on the founding team of the first TEDx to take place in an adult prison, TEDxMarionCorrectional.

Edelheit has since spent the past several years striving to learn and share stories within the justice system. Formerly at the Mayerson Foundation in Cincinnati, Ohio leading their young professional and social change programs, Jordan is now the Director of Alive Inside. She believes in building empathy by listening to one story at a time. She finds herself smiling most after experiencing shared humanity in unexpected spaces . . . like prison.