CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Adam Miller hasn’t even played in a college basketball game yet, but is already using his voice to make an impact.
“I feel like everybody should have equal rights, so I’m not afraid to say anything,” says Miller. “Martin Luther King did it, he wasn’t afraid, Malcom X did it, he wasn’t afraid. So I think it’s our time to come around, and I’ve never seen anything like this even in the history books.”
The Illini freshman was among hundreds of Illinois athletes that joined an on-campus march in August to protest against police brutality. His message is a call for justice, and a demand for equality.
“George Floyd died for this, Breonna Taylor, there’s so many people that’s lost their lives to police brutality in this country, and it’s time for an end,” says Miller.
Long before the Illini-led protest, his voice has been heard beyond Champaign. He grew up in Peoria and moved to Chicago for his last three years of high school. Miller uses his Instagram platform with more than 100 thousand followers to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Even with talks with my grandma, when I was little, she was like, ‘you get detention, that’s prison’ She knows I wasn’t going to prison, but as a black man in this country, it’s so much harder for you to be successful and so much harder just be normal,” says Miller. “Everything you do you got to be sure you’re doing it the right way, and you got to be better than the next one.”
Miller has certainly found that success in his basketball career, as a Top-50 nationally-ranked recruit. The two-time Gatorade Player of the Year is expected to play a big role on the court for the Illini this season but is already leaving his mark in the community.
“Just because I’m an athlete doesn’t mean I’m not a student, everybody’s out here you could be a student or an athlete, you could be a parent, everybody should be out here feeling what everybody’s feeling,” says Miller. “So I’m glad we were able to do that, it’s been going on for 400 years, and we knelt for like 3 or 4 minutes [the march], and I’m just glad to be out here doing what I’m doing.”