Author: Diane Sherrill
My name is Diane Sherrill and I live in St. Petersburg, Florida. I came to Florida when I was 15 and now I am 58 years old and an active member of Cornerstone Community Church. I’ve worked in several different jobs over the years, including as a banker, and have raised two kids.
After going through a devastating divorce, I began self-medicating which turned into full-blown addiction and struggled with extreme depression in my 30s. I went through the depths of addiction and was in and out of Pinellas County jail. I felt so ashamed that I did not want to call family or friends to post my bail.
After struggling with addiction for several years, I started going to meetings and got clean. I have not had any criminal convictions since 2005, and I have been clean and sober for about 10 years with a sponsor. However, my nonviolent drug charges continue to hang over me. It has been real hard regaining employment and paying the court the fines and fees that I owe.
On the road to recovery, it was important to me that I get my voting rights back. I first applied to reinstate my voting rights at my church about five years ago. I am a smart person, but I could not make heads or tails of it because it was so confusing.
It was by God’s grace that in 2019 I was introduced to Campaign Legal Center and they helped me restore my voting rights, after becoming a client in the case to protect Florida’s Amendment 4.
Fortunately, I had the opportunity to vote early in the presidential primary last week. On Thursday morning, I walked into my early voting polling place in Largo, Florida and cast a ballot. It was a beautiful experience. In fact, it felt like a rebirth.
If you believe in second chances, I’m living proof.