At the Bob Graham Center for Public Service annual gathering and awards presentation in May, Desmond Meade was recognized as the 2019 Citizen of the Year for his efforts to civically re-engage local communities across Florida.
Meade, 52, a resident of Orlando, led the movement for the passage of the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, also known as Florida’s Amendment 4, which restored voting rights of 1.4 million Floridians with previous felony convictions. Florida voters approved the amendment by nearly 65 percent in the 2018 general election.
Meade is a former felon who struggled with homelessness before earning a law degree from the Florida International University College of Law. Currently, he is the Chair of Floridians for a Fair Democracy and President of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition.
In honor of his efforts, former Governor Bob Graham welcomed Meade and his family to the ceremony, then presented Meade with a framed certificate to commemorate his civic contributions.
Meade was also named one of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People" for 2019.