BY TRONE DOWD
Richard David has been an active member of Queens for more than a decade. Currently serving as a member of Community Board 9, David has been an activist and advocate for bettering communities both on a citywide and local level. Previously, he has worked for the city’s Economic Development Corporation and Department of Community Affairs and was co-founder and executive director of the Indo-Caribbean Alliance Inc. Most recently, he was a member of the Administration for Children’s Services.
David said that he didn’t always know that he would make a career for himself out of helping those in need.
“When you’re young, you don’t really know what public service means,” he admitted.
Before his days working in the city, David had humble beginnings. Born in the Guyanese town of Mahaicony, he wouldn’t make his way to New York until he was 10 years old. Within the first three years in the city, David started his first job as a summer camp counselor of the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens. He would work at the club throughout his high school years.
After a brief stint pursuing law, David transferred to Hunter College, earning a degree in political science.
“Poli-sci allowed me to have enough flexibility with a career path that I can choose,” David said.
Fresh out of college in 2007, he joined the Economic Development Corporation, working his way up to vice president of the agency in just eight years.
“By chance, my career really took off,” David said. “I didn’t have any special break or any special opening.
I didn’t know anyone that gave me a leg up. I just worked my butt off and, eight years later, I left as their vice president.”
David said that he took tremendous pride in being a person of color in an executive position with the agency.
“My voice became more valuable,” David said.
With the responsibility, David said that he tried his best to ensure that communities of color were not forgotten as the EDC channeled funds to nonprofits in the city. One of the first fights to which he committed himself was obtaining money for the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens. Growing up in less affluent areas of the borough gave him a unique perspective on how effectively city commitment to nonprofits and programs can change lives.
In addition to working with the EDC after college, David was a co-founder of the Indo-Caribbean Alliance, which works on three key aspects of helping Caribbean communities across the city—cultural programming that teaches young adults about the history of their home country, pushing the importance of political consciousness in communities of color and preparing youths through SAT prep and resume writing.
“It has grown into the largest Guyanese organization in New York,” David said. “They run a community center, are fully staffed, they run numerous programs. It’s really an honor to say I co-founded something that has grown into such a wonderful thing.”
Recently, Richards announced a bid for City Council, facing off against incumbent Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica).
“As an activist in our community, I know what it’s like to fight hard for everything that I have,” David said in his inaugural video announcing his bid. “To struggle and to overcome. I love District 28 and I’m ready to work hard to get us real results.”
David said that he wants to continue his work in helping the city and would be honored to be given the opportunity to do so in government.
“I want to see communities of color succeed and thrive in New York,” he said.