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The soul of democracy

38 minutes

As we've heard from Carol Anderson and others on this show, the fight for voting rights often breaks down along racial and partisan lines. Desmond Meade saw that as a problem and set out to change it by channeling our shared sense of humanity and the common good to push for change.

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, and a graduate of Florida International University College of Law. He 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. 

He is a 2021 MacArthur Fellow — a recipient of the organization's prestigious genius grant — and was recognized by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2019. He received the 2021 Brown Democracy Medal from the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State.

Additional Information

America's Disenfranchised: Why Restoring Their Vote Can Save the Soul of Our Democracy

Let My People Vote: My Battle to Restore the Civil Rights of Returning Citizens

Meade's Brown Democracy Medal lecture

Florida Rights Restoration Coalition

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Danielle Allen on achieving democracy's ideals

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