2020 Desmond Meade

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 Florida International University College of Law, a Ford Global Fellow, and a published author of “Let My People Vote.” 

Desmond 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 presently leads 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 testified at the United Nations and Congressional hearings He has appeared on numerous shows such as Al-Jazeera, Democracy NOW, MSNBC with Joy Ann Reid, and All In with Chris Hayes, and is a guest columnist for The Huffington Post.

Photo courtesy of Type Media Center

Watch the Puffin Prize presentation. This includes remarks from Puffin President Neal Rosenstein as he presents the award to Desmond Meade. An an intimate conversation with Josie Rice Duffy, John Legend, and Desmond follows. The event concludes with a moving tribute to Puffin Foundation founder Perry Rosenstein.
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