WASHINGTON — Phillip Agnew hoped to deliver his message to tens of thousands observing the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, but time worked against him. Now he’s making up for being cut with an online video.
Agnew, executive director of the group Dream Defenders, said he was on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Wednesday and saw his name on the teleprompter as the next speaker. As he headed for the podium, he saw the Rev. Al Sharpton walk up and begin speaking.
“That’s when I found out,” Agnew said Thursday. “I went and found I’d been cut, and I told them all I needed was two minutes. They told me people had run over their time and they didn’t have any time left.”
Some 70 speakers and performers were on the agenda at the event paying homage to the historic march and rally where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. The final speaker was President Barack Obama. Agnew was one of the few young people on the speakers’ agenda.
At least one other scheduled speaker didn’t get to the microphone. A spokesman for The King Center, which organized the anniversary ceremony, could not be immediately reached for comment.
Agnew’s group formed last year in the wake of the Feb. 26, 2012, fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman. The group marched from Daytona Beach, Fla., to Sanford, Fla., the town where Trayvon was shot while walking to the home where he was staying with his father.
Agnew said he’s not angry about losing his spot at Wednesday’s march commemoration. He spoke at the march event organized Saturday by Sharpton, and his parents were there to hear him, he said. At that event, the sound system was strictly managed and the microphone was cut off for most speakers who went over their time.
He said he made the video to get the word out about his group and their work. It’s been posted to YouTube.
“It’s up to us. It’s up to young people. We can’t wait on anybody else to do that for us,” Agnew said. “So I put out our video and we are encouraging people around country to tell us what they would do with two minutes on a platform.”
Watch Agnew’s fiery two minutes below: