After months of making his presence felt in the community to galvanize votes, Guyanese-born Richard David cut the ribbon on Saturday, June 10 to officially open his campaign headquarters to ramp-up his bid for the coveted seat in Council District 28, in Queens. Voters go to the polls on Sept. 12, 2017.
It is hard to miss the huge image of David that sits atop his office space, at 133-04 Rockaway Blvd., in South Ozone Park, in the heart of the council district that also encompasses Richmond Hill, Rochdale Village, and South Jamaica.
The Richmond Hill resident, who faces an uphill battle against a half-dozen other candidates running in the diverse community, said he has fought for many years for his neighbors in Southeast Queens, overlooked by government for many years. As such, he is now ready to take that fight to the City Council.
The mixed district of Latino, West African, Caribbean Afro-American Punjabi nationals, and from David’s native Guyana, are underserved, according to the former vice president of the NYC Economic Development Corporation, who could very well make history by becoming the first Guyanese-born to sit in NYC Council.
“I would like to be elected to public office because I have spent ten years in government, and I know that our community is not getting what we deserve, because I seen first-hand our needs are not being met. I want to bring resources to this community to empower our people,” said the budding politician and executive director of the Indo-Caribbean Alliance Inc., who is eager to solve some of the basic problems that persist in the community.
David, a giant thinker, is determination and inspired to bring people together, something that he started in the community as an activist, and co-founder of one of the largest nonprofits in New York. “This campaign is about unity, change, and empowerment — that is our message.”
“I am very much Guyanese. I came to this country at the age of 10. I eat Guyanese food and I hang out with Guyanese citizens. When certain people in New York meet me, often times, they are meeting an Indo-Guyanese for the fist time because they confuse us with other nationalities, even Indo-Caribbean, we have all these identities to hold on to and be proud of said David, who noted that Guyanese are the second largest immigrant group in all of Queens, and through this process of assimilation, ‘you have a life to live,’” he said.
David said it was not easy growing up in his community and attending school. He was bullied and called names, Gandhi, and taunted by peers who told him he smelt like curry. Insults that he overcame, and went on to tertiary education, earning a master’s degree from New York University.
“You could be educated and be wealthy, but if you are not compassionate, and care about your neighborhood, then you let people in your life fail, not feeling they can achieve. What is the point, if you can’t make a difference,” said David, who worked at the South Queens, Boys and Girls Club, which today is one of the leading social justice organizations in Council District 28.
His parents came from modest means, and according to David, the saying that “I came here with a penny and a dream, certainly applies to his family, who worked hard to make sure him and his brother received a sound education, and gave back to their community.
“We need to reach out to these communities. Lack of governance and corruption affect us all. It does not matter if we are immigrant or American, the fact is the government is taking our taxes and not giving us anything in return. This is the reason we are coming together to run this campaign,” said David, whose journey started at age 13 when he got his first job and bought his first home at age 19.