Event Details

Wednesday, June 19, 2019
5:30 p.m. Cocktail Reception
6:30 p.m. Dinner and Program

The National Press Club, 13th floor
529 14th St. NW
Washington, DC 20045

Join us for our 2019 Gala, with a keynote address from U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and remarks from Desmond Meade, this year's Golden Boot recipient.

Keynote Speaker, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)

In the United States Senate, Sheldon Whitehouse has earned a reputation as a fierce advocate for progressive values and a thoughtful legislator capable of reaching across the aisle to achieve bipartisan solutions. 

Sen. Whitehouse has fought to strengthen campaign finance laws, increase transparency in government and defend the rule of law.  He leads the effort to pass the DISCLOSE Act, which would end the flood of undisclosed dark money polluting our elections. He has conducted rigorous oversight of the executive branch to root out the unprecedented ethical abuses of the Trump administration.  He also is an outspoken advocate for protecting access to justice so each American can hold corporations accountable in court for harm or wrongdoing.  

A graduate of Yale University and the University of Virginia School of Law, Sen. Whitehouse served in multiple senior roles in Rhode Island government before his appointment by President Clinton as Rhode Island’s United States Attorney in 1994. Sen. Whitehouse was elected Attorney General of Rhode Island in 1998, and in 2006 was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he serves on the Budget Committee, the Environment and Public Works Committee, the Judiciary Committee and the Finance Committee.

Golden Boot Recipient, Desmond Meade

Desmond Meade is a formerly homeless returning citizen who overcame many obstacles to eventually become the current executive director of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), chair of Floridians for a Fair Democracy and chair of the Florida Coalition on Black Civic Participation’s Black Men’s Roundtable. He is a graduate of Florida International University College of Law.

As president of the FRRC and chair of Floridians for a Fair Democracy, Meade led the successful “Amendment 4” campaign, which established voting rights for over 1.4 million Floridians with a prior felony conviction.

A sought-after speaker, Meade has been invited to speak for national entities and events such the American Political Science Association “Inequality, Democracy and Americas Future," Temple Beth Am, Temple Beth Or, Politrip, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Presidential Summit, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, American Civil Liberties Union, Sigma Gamma Rho, Florida State University, Miami Dade College, the 2018 Unrig Summit, and Bread for the World. He has also testified before Congressional members and was a part of a delegation to the United Nations, where he gave testimony regarding disenfranchisement in Florida.

He is a frequent guest and contributor on national news outlets and has appeared on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Al Jazeera, Democracy NOW with Amy Goodman, MSNBC’s AM Joy with Joy Reid and MSNBC’s former Melissa Harris-Perry Show. Meade has served as a columnist for the Huffington Post and has been interviewed by journalists from publications such as ColorLines, The Atlantic, Politic365, the Washington Post, Orlando Sentinel, and the New York Times Magazine.