Donovan Richards Story

July 29, 2023

Nijaah Howard

     There are many folks that grow up in tough surroundings. Such surroundings may present temptations and elements that many young men of color fall into. As a result, individuals in such surroundings are forced to choose between two distinctly different paths in life. One path could potentially lead to success while the other path could potentially lead to a destructive life full of bad choices. As a young man, Donovan Richards faced that same decision as a young kid and came within an eyelash of going down a very destructive road. However, one could safely say he ended up on the right path. Donovan Richards has served as the current borough president of Queens since the end of 2020. He is the first African American male in history to serve as Queens Borough President. Previously, he served as a member of the New York City Council for seven years representing areas in Queens such as Jamaica, Springfield Gardens and Laurelton. Born to teenage parents, Donovan would end up living in many parts of Queens as a young man.

    Even before he entered junior high school, Donovan would end up dealing with peer pressure that led him to make potentially bad choices. Donovan would end up cutting school and nearly ended up nearly failing out of Jamaica High School. He would even end
up running away from home at one point. However, Donovan was fortunate enough to have hard-working parents who were not willing to let their son go down that perilous path even though they were young as well. In particular, Donovan’s father moved heaven and earth to make sure Donovan was taken care of. He would make sure his children were fed even if he didn’t have anything to eat. After all, Donovan’s dad grew up without having a relationship with his father and determined in his heart that the cycle wasn’t going to continue.

However, Donovan was fortunate enough to have hard-working parents who were not willing to let their son go down that perilous path even though they were young as well. In particular, Donovan’s father moved heaven and earth to make sure Donovan was taken care of. He would make sure his children were fed even if he didn’t have anything to eat. After all, Donovan’s dad grew up without having a relationship with his father and determined in his heart that the cycle wasn’t going to continue.

Therefore, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Donovan’s parents would pull him out of Jamaica High School and transfer him to Redemption Christian Academy in Albany, NY. Even though Redemption Christian Academy is a basketball prep school, it also represented a place for many kids at the crossroads of their life to decide once and for all which course of life they were going to take. Undoubtedly, this was a drastic change in environment. Students had to make their bed. They had a limited amount of time to take a shower. This school looked to cultivate discipline and accountability in its students. Donovan decided that he was going to embrace this environment and focus on going down the right path.

He made up four years of high school work over the course of two years. He was motivated by the fact that he was in an environment with students of similar background who saw potential in each other and were headed in the same direction. His decision to go down the right path has led him on a journey that has culminated in him overseeing the most ethnically diverse area in the United States.

As Queens Borough President, he’s secured $17.5 million dollars for small businesses that have been struggling. He’s held food distribution events for those who have experienced food insecurity. He has also been an ally in the fight against climate change by assembling the Queens Solid Waste Advisory Board to work and advise him on issues regarding environmental quality. Life has come full circle for the Southeast Queens native.

Donovan Richards is perfectlyaware of the fact that he would not be the success he is without the positive influence of women in his life. He credits his wife, Tamika for the sacrifice that she has made. He is admiring of her strength and grace with regards to juggling a job as well as the role of mother while he’s serving in his role. 

Related Articles

Helen Zheng

Helen Zheng

Helen Zheng  In the dynamic world of media, technology, and community engagement, Shefik stands out as an embodiment of the change he aspires to create.            With an unwavering commitment to helping others and an ever-evolving journey of self-discovery,...

Get your Daily Dose CAFE

Get your Daily Dose CAFE

Daily Dose Cafe GET YOUR DAILY DOSE CAFE Life is complicated enough. Finding delicious and healthy food shouldn’t be a challenging endeavor in urban communities, however, now it’s changed. When we eat better, we feel better, and when we feel better we LIVE & DO...

From the ghetto in the island of Jamaica to Suburbia Jamaica Queens

From the ghetto in the island of Jamaica to Suburbia Jamaica Queens

Annette Runcie Story SOLUTION MINDSET From the ghetto in the island of Jamaica to Suburbia Jamaica Queens Annette Runcie was born in the ghettos of Kingston, Jamaica in a large family of seven and emigrated with her family at the age of 11. She grew up in a very...

Stay Up to Date With The Latest News & Updates

Purchase Thoughts Magazine 2020 Edition

Purchase your print or digital copy on the New Thoughts Magazine Men’s & Woman’s edition

Join the Newsletter

Keep upto date with the latest news and topics with Thoughts Magazine

13 + 12 =

Follow Us

Connect with us through our social media platforms