Desmond Meade is a force for good in a broken world. After graduating from law school, Desmond dedicated his life to helping people reenter society after incarceration, and he has been invited to share his passion for the restoration of rights for former offenders before the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Desmond, currently the state director for PICO Florida Lifelines to Healing Program, has also testified on Capitol Hill before congressional members and staffers about disenfranchisement laws and their impact on millions of previously incarcerated Americans.
There’s just one thing—Desmond can’t vote for the politicians who seek his advice.
That’s because of an old felony conviction, one that Desmond left behind long ago. Though Desmond has overcome homelessness, unemployment and substance addictions—and though he has earned his bachelor’s and JD degree since leaving prison—no amount of success can restore his right to vote, so long as he resides in Florida. Furthermore, state law forbids him to practice law.
Currently in Florida, there are nearly two million men and women barred for life from voting due to a felony conviction—over one-fifth of the entire disenfranchised population in America. But it doesn’t have to be this way; other states allow for re-enfranchisement after individuals have completed their sentence.
Desmond urges Christians to remember the conversion and subsequent ministry of the apostle Paul, whom God entrusted with enormous responsibility despite a broken past. To deny full restoration to the Pauls of our day is not only immoral, it is unbiblical, and by doing so we rob ourselves of the wisdom they are poised to share.
Desmond also joined Dr. Schuringa as a panelist at a bipartisan Senate briefing on Capitol Hill in June. Click here to listen to Desmond’s speech (beginning at 50:00). Dr. Schuringa’s remarks begin at 1:06:30.