In a joint letter, Orlando Congressman Maxwell Alejandro Frost and South Florida Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson, both Democrats, are urging President Joe Biden to pardon Nobel Peace Prize nominee and Florida Rights Restoration Coalition leader Desmond Meade.
The letter recounts Meade’s early struggles with the law and his journey to becoming a modern civil rights leader. In 2018, Meade spearheaded the passage of a landmark constitutional amendment to restore the voting rights of more than one million Floridians with a felony conviction, repealing the state’s 150-year-old Jim Crow-era law. Today, Meade is credited with the most significant expansion of voting rights in the United States in over 50 years, earning him a Nobel Peace Prize nomination, a McArthur Genius Grant, and a mention in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list in 2019.
“One of the greatest honors of my life was Organizing to help pass Amendment 4, a movement that Desmond Meade started,” said Congressman Maxwell Frost. “Desmond’s life’s work is a powerful reminder of the importance of forgiveness and second chances. A civil rights leader, Desmond has created a movement powered by love and compassion. That leaders like Ron DeSantis have chosen to continue to support his disenfranchisement proves that our justice system isn’t centered on rehabilitation but on incarceration. No one has done more for voting rights in Florida than Desmond, which is why alongside Congresswoman Wilson, I wholeheartedly call on President Biden to do what Governor DeSantis will never be willing and able to do — grant Desmond Meade a Presidential pardon to restore his rights fully.”
“Desmond Meade’s life is a testament to the incredible power of second chances,” said said Congresswoman Wilson. “As a veteran, renowned civil rights leader, and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Mr. Meade has devoted his life to restoring the rights of millions who were once incarcerated. His journey and commitment to service are embodied through his advocacy to others and serves as an inspiration and role model, particularly for young men of color who find hope in his story and see Mr. Meade as an example that it is possible to turn their lives around. As he has advocated for millions of returning citizens, I am proud to advocate for the pardon of Desmond Meade. Together with Congressman Frost, we urge President Biden to grant Mr. Meade a Presidential pardon, a recognition long overdue for the enduring impact he has made.”
Here is the full letter from Congressman Maxwell Alejandro Frost and Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson: