2013 The Root 100

Phillip Agnew and the Dream Defenders were instrumental in getting the Trayvon Martin case on the national radar.

  • Influence: 182.8
  • Reach: 9.03
  • Substance: 7.8
  • Media Mentions: 15
  • Internet Mentions: 14300
  • Twitter Followers: 4659
  • Phillip Agnew

  • His organization, the Dream Defenders, is credited with putting the Trayvon Martin case on the national radar.
  • Job: Executive director, Dream Defenders
  • Sector: Government/Politics
  • Twitter: @PhilUnchained
  • Location: Miami Lakes, Fla.
  • Age: 28
  • Bio:

    Phillip Agnew first came to community activism as a student at Florida A&M University after 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson was beaten to death at a Florida boot camp (the camp was shuttered soon after). Seven years later, in response to teen Trayvon Martin being killed, Agnew formed the Dream Defenders, which brought vigor and national attention to the Martin case from the start. The black-and-brown-youth-led Dream Defenders now has chapters on nine college campuses in Florida and highlights racial and social economic-justice issues like prison privatization, racial profiling and "zero tolerance" policies in schools -- which many believe lead students of color straight into the prison system. Although he was locked out as a speaker at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, Agnew kept it moving and put his remarks online. He tweeted: "We won't use this as an opportunity to bash older generations. They ran out of time. Youth will rise. And our time is now."

    Visit his website and like his Facebook page. 

  • Fun Fact: It was at one of his first protests in front of 5,000 people that Agnew, whose father is a Chicago-based preacher, knew he had found his calling: "I literally opened my mouth and my father came out. It was like, this is what I was meant to do."