Phillip Agnew calls for action at MLK Convocation

Phillip Agnew returned to Florida A&M University as the guest speaker for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation. Agnew is a co-founder and the director for the Dream Defenders. (Jewel Brown/The Famuan

Philip Agnew challenged students to start fighting for their communities at the Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation, Thursday.

Agnew, the guest speaker for the event, introduced his speech citing recent police brutality cases, such as the Eric Garner and Jonathan Crawford cases. He used these occurences to fuel his audience.

“There is much more to do,” Agnew said. “The world outside is not meant for us.”

Agnew served as student body vice-president while attending Florida A&M University. His community activism began after Martin Lee Anderson was beaten to death while incarcerated in a boot camp ran by Bay County Sheriffs Department in 2006. He was a co-founder and is now director of the Dream Defenders.

His were not the only words of empowerment for students at convocation.

FAMU President Elmira Mangum believes King’s ideals are inside everyone.

“We want you to use the opportunities we provide to reach your goals,” Mangum said. “It takes sacrifice. It takes fighting, but it takes love. We must love one another to be successful.”

Mangum advocated student action, but emphasized a need for caution.

Bobby Blackwell-Burt, a third-year business administration student from Titusville, Fla., agreed that something needed to be done now in the community. He believes the schools around Tallahassee to rally together for social justice.

“An angry Florida State, FAMU and Tallahassee Community College under one name is stronger than just an angry FAMU, an angry FSU or an angry TCC,” Blackwell-Burt said.

Agnew left the audience with a song and the words, “It’s time for us to rise up. It’s time for us to strike, strike and strike again.”