Former Syracuse Orange Jovan Miller uses platform to push for change

Orange Nation

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – The death of George Floyd at the hands of a former Minneapolis police officer has caught the attention of the entire world.

“It took a pandemic, it took the world to stop moving to see that this kinda what we been kinda getting on for a long time,” said Miller.  

All across the country and even across the world, there’s a call for change. Here in Syracuse, protests have continued for more than two weeks and Miller has attended a few.

“They’ve been incredibly powerful. I could feel the love and I could feel the desire for change,” said Miller.   

The former Syracuse lacrosse star has always been aware of what it meant to be black in America thanks to both of his parents, Jeffrey and Delbra. Both of them were born in the 1950’s and made sure Jovan knew his history.

“There’s all these stories that I been told and they were all true. But when I went to school and I got a text book I said that’s nowhere in here,” said Jovan.

So that gave Jovan an idea. He currently is an English teacher down in Charlotte at Phoenix Montessori Academy but he has switched topics the last two weeks. Using his Instagram page, @jovination23, equipped with a marker and a white board he’s teaching what he calls Activism 101.

“Feedback has been awesome,” said Miller. “I just want to keep as many going as humanly possible, because a lot of people are listening.” 

“Being able to reach so many people and them being receptive is a beautiful thing especially for any teacher out there.”  

But these videos also have an additional significance to Jovan. His father Jeffrey was in the Syracuse City School district for 30 years. He founded a “Man Up Program” that targets the upbuilding of young men and entrepreneurship. He passed away from brain cancer on May 20, 2020. Jovan says he got the idea in part from his father’s leadership and opens every video saying, “it’s Jeffrey’s son”

“I think he handed me the baton,” said Jovan. “Watching how he was structured in doing so it definitely helped me with some of the ideas I have yet to do, but would love to do.

“But I have to build day by day. He was able to do that over his tenure in education, obviously I’m not at 30 years, but I’m getting there.” 

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