DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS & ADMINISTRATION
Jovan is a child of Ayiti and Granmè Meliana, from whom they learned that it is always worth fighting for the “vwa la libète kap chante lan kè nou.” As a Health Policy Research Scholar and Ph.D student in Operations Research at Georgia Tech, their research focuses on how to make decisions under uncertainty. They seek understanding of how individuals and communities can make choices in ways that expand wellness for all. In this as with all things, they are student of Black Caribbean radical traditions. They are a storyteller committed to collecting story-past and making story-future using tools including photography, organizing, facilitation, and mathematics.
As an organizer and eventually Organizing Programs Director at Project South and facilitator and storytelling and alignment coordinator at Youth for Environmental Sanity they built relationships with other organizers and communities across the world working to develop democratic decision making practices and connective tissue. They integrate their various practices as an artists, engineer/mathematician, facilitator, storyteller, and technologists to build administrative infrastructure at OHRD that supports the growth of a cooperative, consensus driven, ecosystem of organizers and community members with the political will, radical vision, queer praxis, and ancestral connection to build systems that sustain life today and ensure the most radical possibilities for future generations.
Isolated and marginalized individuals, families, communities, and organizations often have the least access to the data and research tools currently being developed in Western academic systems. Outside of their role as Director of Administration, Jovan also engages as a part of our Department of Theory, to build and facilitate learning around evidence to clarify the likely outcomes, trade-offs, costs, and benefits of a complex interaction of specific policies and dilemmas faced by communities. Jovan’s research integrates, synthesizes, and facilitates learning about evidence-based models that are accessible, relevant, and available to community actors as to transfer power from state actors to local communties. They believe designing tools that support democratic decision and policymaking, at its most basic level, is about supporting the actualization democratic practice that is truly accountable to and in controlled by those who have been traditionally sidelined in US American society.
Jovan is a student of many schools of thought emerging from the U.S. South, the Caribbean writ large, and Haitian peasant radicals specifically.