Sep 29, 2021 - News

Florida activist wins MacArthur genius grant

Desmond Meade (left), Neil Volz (center) of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and singer John Legend speak on a panel.
Desmond Meade (left), Neil Volz (center) of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and singer John Legend speak during a Get Out The Vote event in Orlando. Photo: Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

Desmond Meade, the face of a movement to restore voting rights to Florida felons, has won a so-called genius grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

  • The MacArthur Fellowships give money to 25 creatives, advocates and others to free them to pursue whatever they please.
  • Meade, who is from Orlando but well known around Tampa Bay, will receive $625,000 over the course of a half-decade.

Why it matters: He's the founder of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and led a 2018 grassroots effort to pass Amendment 4 to the Florida Constitution, which restored voting rights to more than a million felons.

  • Meade said he's thinking of creative ways to use the money to help "returning citizens," per Florida Politics.
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