theGrio’s 100: Phillip Agnew, the face of the ‘Dream Defenders’

Who is Phillip Agnew?

Phillip Agnew, 28, is the executive director and co-founder of the Dream Defenders — a community activist group of minority youth who are being recognized as the next generation of civil rights leaders. Agnew, who is also known as “Phil Unchained,” has fearlessly led the organization through demonstrations, protests and sit-ins to bring about social change to many injustices. His charismatic speeches motivate the masses and his words echo everlasting wisdom. MSNBC’s Goldie Taylor once wrote, “There is a certain lyricism to Agnew’s voice, a power so enthralling that it dares you to turn away from its truth.”

Why is he on theGrio’s 100?

As an opinionated and outspoken activist, Agnew has risen to be one of his generation’s leading voices. He established the Dream Defenders after he led a many-man 40-mile march from Daytona Beach to Sanford, Fla. where 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed. He rallied together black and brown youth to speak out in the aftermath of Martin’s death and has challenged lawmakers in amending stand your ground laws through planning a 31-day sit-in at the office of Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

His honorable leadership even landed him on the list of guest speakers at the commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the March on Washington commemoration in D.C. — but unfortunately, time was limited and Agnew was cut from the lineup moments before he was expected to take the stage. Still, that did not hinder him for sharing his message with the nation.  He recorded his remarks on video and posted them on You Tube. His video, titled “Our March,” has since received more than 50,000 views.

What’s next for Agnew? 

Through his impressive leadership and relentless will to battle injustice, Agnew has proven that he is more than capable of being at the helm of such an esteemed organization. The Dream Defenders have made headlines nationwide for their collective activism and Agnew has attracted thousands of supporters to join him in his journey to bring about social change. It is only the beginning for him.