Full Name
Desmond Meade
Job Title
Executive Director
Current Employer
Florida Rights Restoration Coalition
Speaker Bio
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, a graduate of Miami Dade College, Florida International
University College of Law, a Ford Global Fellow, and a 2021 MacArthur
“Genius” Fellow.
Recognized by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential
People in the World in 2019, Desmond presently leads efforts to
empower and civically re-engage local communities across the state,
and to reshape local, state, and national criminal justice policies. His
work has resulted in being named Floridian and Central Floridian of
the Year 2019.
As President and Executive Director of FRRC, which was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize
2023 is recognized for its work on voting, criminal justice reform issues, and 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.
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 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 President Obama’s administration. Most recently, Desmond
served as a Commissioner on the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice which
was co-chaired by former U.S. Attorney Generals Loretta Lynch and Alberto Gonzalez. He is also
a member of the Council on Criminal Justice. He has appeared on numerous shows such as
Al-Jazeera, Democracy NOW, MSNBC with Joy Ann Reid, FOX News with Dana Perino and Tucker
Carlson, Samantha Bee, and All In with Chris Hayes. 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.
Desmond Meade