Phillip is a queer Jamaican immigrant who commits himself to putting his body and experiences on the line to fight for the liberation of black, brown, queer bodies worldwide. Growing up in Jamaica, he faced constant persecution, violence against his body, and fear of freedom to exist in his own skin because of colonially constructed societal systems that continue to plunder the bodies, minds, and souls of black folks on the island and in the wider West Indies region. Knowing that he had to escape those oppressive environments of his home to reclaim his voice, resist degradation, and fight for those like him, Phillip left the country to attend Clark University in the US where he began studying Geography and Political Science. While there, he found a community of radical love and resistance and got involved with student organizing on campus as a way to channel the newfound inner power he possessed in his idmentity into reclaimative healing. Having developed a close relationship with Mother Earth from an early age because of her pivotal role in Jamaican culture and ability to provide solace when he faced persecution, Phillip joined the climate flight and started organizing for Clark’s divestment from fossil fuels with Divest Clark. After the election in November of 2016, he also got involved with immigrants’ rights efforts on campus and co-founded a Disorientation Week geared towards deconstructing the university’s oppressive institutional structures.
These experiences led him to complete a fellowship with the Better Future Project in Boston where he worked alongside nine other students to conceptualize the development of a climate justice oriented campaign aimed at pressuring the New England Aquarium to divest from fossil fuels. While organizing with the Better Future Project, he was exposed to the pressing environmental injustices facing black and brown communities throughout the US and decided to take a leave of absence from university to pursue full-time organizing.
Currently, Phillip is based in Orlando, Florida where he is fighting with the Sunrise Movement for a sustainable, just, and equitable future by tackling the corrupting influence of fossil fuel corporations on America’s politics. He specifically aims to empower black and brown youth to engage more actively in the political process by building regenerative and healing communities dedicated to uplifting black and brown voices through channels that allow them to identity how their communities can resist exploitation and combat systems perpetuating climate and environmental injustices. Given that queer folks in Jamaica are extremely vulnerable to the consequences of climate change because of subjection to increased rates of homelessness and unstable living conditions resulting from societal wide persecution, Phillip hopes to incorporate these intertwined struggles of black, brown, queer folks in his future organizing. At COP24, he intends to explore these collaborate networks of resistance by reclaiming space and power for those like him by giving voice to the fact that the black and brown bodies subject to eurocentric forms of patriarchal confinement related to queerphobia and racism because of colonial histories are the same black and brown bodies and communities being exploited by the profit-driven capitalist industries causing environmental degradation and climate change. Phillip is more than honored to be able to share his story as part of the delegation and can’t wait to incorporate his love for dancing and bodily movements in relation to other folks as part of our collective healing processes as a resistance movement.