President | Florida Rights Restoration Coalition
Desmond Meade is a formerly homeless returning citizen who overcame many obstacles to eventually become the current State Director for Florida Live Free Campaign, President of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), Chair of Floridians for a Fair Democracy, Chair of the Florida Coalition on Black Civic Participation’s Black Men’s Roundtable, and a graduate of Florida International University College of Law.
As State Director of the Live Free Campaign, Desmond is currently engaged in a national campaign to reduce mass incarceration, reduce gun violence in urban communities, and re-enfranchise the over 5 million returning citizens nationally who are prevented from voting. The Live Free Campaign is a part of the PICO National Network, the nation’s largest organizer of faith based congregations with over 1,000 member institutions. Representing over 1 million families in 150 cities and 17 states, including Florida.
As President of the FRRC, which is recognized for its work on felon 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 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 is presently leading efforts to restore civil rights to over 1.68 million Floridians, empower and civically re-engage local communities, and to reshape local, state, and national policies.
As Chair of Floridians for a Fair Democracy, Desmond is guided a successful citizen’s initiative to restore the ability to vote to returning citizens 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 a part of a delegation to the United Nations where he gave testimony regarding disenfranchisement in Florida. Desmond recently orchestrated an historic meeting at the White House between returning citizens and the President’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 Trayvon Martin incident 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.