Desmond Meade is a formerly homeless returning citizen who overcame many obstacles to eventually become the President of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), Chair of Floridians for a Fair Democracy, and a graduate of Florida International University College of Law.
As President of the FRRC, which is recognized for its work on felony disfranchisement issues, Desmond has orchestrated the reorganization and incorporation of a coalition comprised of over 70 state and national organizations and individuals which includes, but is not limited to the NAACP, ACLU, PICO, Florida League of Women Voters, A. Philip Randolph Institute, PICO Florida, and Florida Immigration Coalition. Desmond has also received many accolades, celebrating his hard work and dedication to leadership and commitment to social justice. He led the FRRC to a historic victory in 2018 with the successful passage of Amendment 4, a grassroots citizen’s initiative which restored voting rights to over 1.4 million Floridians with past felony convictions. Amendment 4 represented the single largest expansion of voting rights in the United States in half a century, and brought an end to 150 years of a Jim Crow-era law in Florida. Desmond is presently leading efforts to empower and civically re-engage local communities across the state, and to reshape local, state, and national criminal justice policies.
A sought-after speaker, Desmond has made numerous appearances on radio and television, and has spoken before national organizations such as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bread for the World. Desmond has testified before Congressional members and staffers, and was a part of a delegation to the United Nations where he gave testimony regarding disenfranchisement in Florida. Desmond orchestrated a historic meeting at the White House between returning citizens and the President Obama’s administration. He has appeared on numerous shows such as Al-Jazeera, Democracy NOW and MSNBC with Joy Ann Reid. He is a guest columnist for the Huffington Post in which one of his articles about the death of Trayvon Martin garnered national attention. Desmond has been featured in several newspaper and magazine articles, and was chosen as a “Game Changer” by Politic 365, as well as being recognized as a “Foot Soldier” on the Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC. Desmond is married and has five beautiful children.