Co-Director, Black Men Build
Philip Agnew is the oldest of four boys born to a preacher and a teacher in the West Englewood
neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois. He is a co-founder of the Dream
Defenders and Black Men Build, where he currently serves the organization as the Co-Director.
He is a nationally recognized educator, strategist, writer, trainer, speaker and cultural critic.
He found his voice as one of today’s most prolific community activists while a student at FAMU.
In addition to serving as student body president from 2006-2007, a student member of the
Board of Trustees, and the co-chair of the University’s Vote Coalition, he was recognized as a
national IMPACT Leader and as one of the top student leaders in the nation by the Diversity
Leadership Conference. In 2008, he was honored with the University’s prestigious Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr. Student Leadership Award.
Phillip emerged as a national activist when he helped to organize students from FAMU, Florida
State University and Tallahassee Community College in the creation of the Student Coalition for
Justice, which was formed in response to the Martin Lee Anderson case. In 2012, he co-
founded the Dream Defenders and has been dubbed “one of this generation’s leading voices”
and recognized by both EBONY magazine and The Root as one of the 100 most influential
African Americans in the nation.
In 2012, he co-founded the Dream Defenders, a statewide organization that rose to national
prominence after the acquittal of George Zimmerman.
In 2018, he transitioned from his role as co-director of the Dream Defenders. In July 2019 he
joined the Bernie Sanders campaign as a National Surrogate and was later named a Senior
Agnew currently is a Co-Director of Black Men Build, an organization that is bringing Black men
into the movement for racial, social, and gender justice.
His work in community activism has been highlighted internationally, including on MSNBC and
in the Huffington Post, USA Today, the Guardian and Democracy Now. Phillip is a 2008
graduate of FAMU’s School of Business and Industry and is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha