Member Since April 2023
Sheena Meade empowers the disenfranchised. She is a walking barrier breaker and one of America’s leading experts on criminal justice reform. As CEO of the Clean Slate Initiative (CSI), Sheena leads a national bipartisan coalition to advance policy that automatically clears all eligible arrest and conviction records across the US. From creating a partnership with the NBA Social Justice Coalition to strategizing with groups of all political persuasion; Sheena is boundless in her commitment to making change. Her bipartisan approach has helped drive over 7 million conviction and non-conviction cases to be cleared with the support of CSI. Prior to becoming CEO of Clean Slate Initiative Sheena helped found Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC) as its first Organizing Director—along with wearing many other hats—and simultaneously took on the role of Senior Advisor to Second Chances Amendment 4 Florida Campaign. During this statewide, grassroots effort to return voting rights to people experiencing felony disenfranchisement Sheena raised 15 million dollars, mobilized thousands of impacted families and supporters to get to the polls, trained hundreds of activists to engage within their communities on the issue of criminal justice, and brought together 800 faith congregations to support Amendment 4 efforts. Florida voters enthusiastically passed Amendment 4 in 2018, restoring voting rights to 1.4 million people. Sheena is regularly featured in media such as Bloomberg, Ebony, NY Times, Axios, Forbes, Washington Post, CNN, NBC News, and CBS News, one of America’s most influential and dynamic nonprofit leaders, women empowerment experts, and the premier voice for criminal justice reform. Sheena currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Public Welfare Foundation and also sits on the boards of: the Policing Project at NYU School of Law; Live Free USA; and the Florida Coalition on Black Civic Engagement. Over the course of her life, she has worked in communities around the country, channeling her passions and skill to raise money for those most impacted by the criminal justice system. She has convened bipartisan political notables to address critical issues related to criminal justice. Her grassroots organizing savvy has led to successful voter registration drives around the country, including working with the likes of Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, John Legend, and Roc Nation. Her own journey is a life of overcoming. She epitomizes resilience. From teenage mom and survivor of domestic violence to acclaimed executive, proud mother of five children, and half of one of America’s most dynamic power couples. Her husband, Desmond, shares his wife’s passion about criminal justice reform and voting rights. His organization, FRRC, recently was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, an organization that Sheena helped build. Perhaps the greatest tool Sheena has in her arsenal is how she makes people feel. Whether it is someone who has fallen on hard times or a multimillionaire; she connects with them and leaves them feeling inspired. Ask Sheena about these accomplishments and her drive, her answer is simple: “I’m just Sheena.”
May 25, 2023
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The Clean Slate Initiative
The Clean Slate Initiative is a national bipartisan coalition advancing policies to automatically clear all eligible criminal records across the United States. One in three Americans has some type of criminal record, and this can create lifelong barriers to opportunity for them and their families. A criminal record should not be a life sentence to poverty. We believe that people who have served their time deserve a fair shot at a better future. To better achieve equity, especially across race and income, we must transform a justice system that continues to create unnecessary barriers to employment, education, and housing. The Clean Slate Initiative works with state partners to help provide people with a fresh start.