“You can never stop and as older people, we have to learn how to take leadership from the youth and I guess I would say that this is what I’m attempting to do right now.” — Angela Davis
City of Warren Mayor Doug Franklin and Miles Jay (Johnson) recognizing a member of the Jefferson K-8 Men of Distinction
Anyone who has had the fortune to meet Miles Jay (Johnson) immediately feels the presence of his leadership, partnership, and mentorship.
Whether he is in the ring, on the streets, or at the mic, Miles Jay (Johnson) is always someone to watch and listen to–and perhaps most importantly, someone to look up to. In recognition of Black History Month and National Youth Leadership Month, HCP wants to lift up, highlight, and celebrate Miles Jay (Johnson) as our February Partner Spotlight.
One of the many roles Miles Jay (Johnson) lives is as a community organizer with Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership. In this position, Mr. Johnson builds relationships with resident leaders, community organizations, and decision makers to solve problems and create change from the ground up. Mr. Johnson has helped to organize and participate in many community-level initiatives such as: neighborhood improvement events, US Census outreach, and voter engagement and registration.
But his passion and calling is to work with youth and young adults to build foundations for a better future. Throughout all the roles he lives and hats he wears, Mr. Johnson is always a mentor and a role model for young people–our future leaders. Below is a list of youth-focused initiatives that Mr. Johnson has lead or supported:
- TNP Youth Program : TNP Youth Program, an organizing effort to build youth leaders in the community, partnered with Warren City Schools (Lincoln, Jefferson, Willard, and Monroe Center) along with S.T.E.A.M. Academy, Rivergate, and Youth Build on civic engagement training. TNP Youth Program promotes civic engagement opportunities in education by providing an intellectual, challenging, fun, and creative learning environment that will assist with strategy and building everyday life skills (Formerly known as BUILD from TNP 2020 Annual Report).
- Jefferson & Willard Schools Men of Distinction: TNP collaborated with Jefferson and Willard School to mentor two amazing youth, Jamar and Dennis, through the M.O.D Program. The Men of Distinction program is lead by school counselor’s Ms. Vlahos and Ms. Phillips at Jefferson and Willard Elementary. The M.O.D. Program was designed to be a mentoring program focusing on building social and emotional soft skills for young boys that attend Willard and Jefferson Elementary School (from TNP 2020 Annual Report).
- Zulu Boxing Club: “The Zulu Boxing Club began to come to fruition in 2019 and then started last year, local youth ages 8 to 18 and some young adults have attended for exercise and boxing instruction. [Mr. Johnson] said in addition to health and physical fitness, the center also helps youth use their concentration and dedication skills.” (Coupland, Bob. “Warren Center Boxes Guidance, Sport to Youth,” Tribune Chronicle, 02/06/2022).
- Chess Is Life: “In alignment with the company’s mission to encourage young participants to apply their skills to their life decisions for personal growth, Chess is Life has continued to grow and expand to regional tournaments. Working with his team, Johnson says his guidance for younger generations is not only influenced by his love of the game but through the insight he’s earned navigating life as a troubled teen.” (Battee, Precious. “Chess Is Life: How Warren native Miles Johnson uses chess as a metaphor to teach youths about life,” Mahoning Matters, 02/28/2022).
“There are two ways of exerting one’s strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up.”
– Booker T. Washington.
Miles Jay (Johnson) and his team registering voters at Highland Terrace in Warren
Miles Jay (Johnson) always goes out of his way to pull, push, and lift up the voices of others, especially those who are often left out or over looked. This past fall, Mr. Johnson teamed up with the D5 Group, Red Karma Media, and Sound United Podcast Studio to launch Trumbull Stories. The first story series, “Transit + the People,” focuses on stitching together a narrative about the importance of public transit in the lives of Trumbull County bus riders and drivers. In a community where thousands of residents experience barriers to travel safely from place to place, public transit becomes a critical thread that ties parts of peoples’ lives together.
Through voter registration and engagement, Mr. Johnson also reminds residents that they have a voice that deserves to be heard. Making sure that residents are registered to vote and are able to vote in every election is another critical thread that needs to be strengthened and stretched throughout our communities and neighborhoods.
The Healthy Community Partnership is so lucky to have someone like Miles Jay (Johnson) in our network to make sure we are always looking for and listening to new, young leaders and creating spaces and opportunities to pull up new leaders to take over the work tomorrow that was started today.