Desmond Meade, Who Led Re-Enfranchisement Of Florida Felons, Named To Time’s 100 Most Influential List

Isheka N. Harrison
Written by Isheka N. Harrison
Former felon Desmond Meade and president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, left, arrives with family members at the Supervisor of Elections office Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, in Orlando, Fla., to register to vote. Former felons in Florida began registering for elections on Tuesday, when an amendment that restores their voting rights went into effect. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

As the hilarious show “Atlanta” has often highlighted, Florida men are always in the news. Normally, it isn’t for anything flattering. Actually, the hashtag #OnlyInFlorida has become quite a popular one. But this time, Florida-man Desmond Meade is doing what he does best – disrupting the status quo by changing the ‘Florida-man’ narrative in one of the most mainstream media publications ever.

Meade is featured by TIME Magazine as one of the 100 Most influential People of 2019 in the Icon category for his tireless work in getting Amendment 4 passed to restore voting rights for 1.4 million Florida felons who have paid their debt to society. His story is actually movie-worthy.

Meade overcame being homeless and suicidal to obtain a law degree. He rose above life’s trials to build a family with his loving wife and children. Then he dedicated his life to removing obstacles that would prevent other returning citizens from doing the same.

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Meade prefers to call those who have been released from prison “returning citizens.” He is 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.

In addition to TIME, Meade has been honored as the Central Floridian of the Year. He believes is the duty of the strong to uphold the weak.

“If we do want our communities to be strong and our state to be strong and this country to be strong we must commit to empowering the weakest among us. The homeless, those who are hungry, those who are silenced, our children, our elderly…I do consider that an honor,” Meade told the Orlando Sentinel.

He humbly expressed his gratitude for the honors he has received, but noted serving others has always been his primary objective.

Isheka N. Harrison
Image Attribution: Former felon Desmond Meade and president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, left, arrives with family members at the Supervisor of Elections office Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, in Orlando, Fla., to register to vote. Former felons in Florida began registering for elections on Tuesday, when an amendment that restores their voting rights went into effect. (AP Photo/John Raoux), Former felon Desmond Meade and president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, left, arrives with family members at the Supervisor of Elections office Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, in Orlando, Fla., to register to vote. Former felons in Florida began registering for elections on Tuesday, when an amendment that restores their voting rights went into effect. (AP Photo/John Raoux)