The Dream Defenders have been occupying the Florida State Capitol for 17 days, making national headlines with their call for a special legislative session to pass a "Trayvon's Law"—to repeal Stand Your Ground, ban racial profiling, and end the school-to-prison pipeline.
They've made headlines coast to coast. They're being recognized as the next generation of civil rights leaders. But rewind a month or two, and almost nobody had heard of them. So who are they, and where did they come from?
This episode of the Flaming Sword of Justice brings you a slice of the back story: the spellbinding journey of Phillip Agnew, the Dream Defenders' co-founder and executive director. In an interview recorded in March of 2013, Phillip recounts growing up in the black church, not much money but a lot of love; his first fight against a racist killing in Florida; the brush with racial profiling that jolted him out of his depressing job selling anti-depressants—and then the creation of the Dream Defenders in the course of a life-changing march to Sanford, Florida after the killing of Trayvon Martin.
Today's Tallahasee Takeover springs directly from the same vibrant vision and bedrock commitment that shines through in this interview, and through the voices of so many of the Dream Defenders. If you want to understand the present and future of Florida politics—and, indeed, of American politics in general, as a rising generation of young people of color moves the balance of power—then you'll want to get to know this extraordinary group.
There's a moment in this interview that we'll never forget, about 34 minutes in: the day Phillip realizes that he can never go back to his old life in corporate America. Don't miss that part. But check out the whole thing.