Before joining the Human Rights Campaign as the advocacy organization’s president, Alphonso David created a name for himself as chief counsel to now former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. On Monday, the man who some thought would one day run for president, gave his final farewell to the people of the Empire State. And though he has resigned from public life, former staffers, like David, face growing scrutiny over their involvement with the governor and their dealings with the salacious accusations that eventually brought him down.
David has fought off any inferences of any wrongdoing and is now thanking the Black leaders who continue to publicly stand by him. “I am grateful to all of the leaders who signed the open letter supporting my leadership and for acknowledging our decades of work together advocating for the rights of marginalized communities,” David tells EBONY. “We have so much more work to do and I am thankful for all of the support as we continue to advance this critical work.”
Inside the HRC organization, there is reportedly a divide among staffers on whether or not David, like the former governor, should resign over his role in what some consider a campaign to discredit women who accused Cuomo of sexual harassment. But those who have worked with David in multiple community spaces say they know him to be a “principled leader” who carries himself with “grace, dignity, professionalism, integrity, and understanding that he has demonstrated in his past successes.”
Earlier this month, 40 Black business owners, activists, philanthropists including Dr. Hazel Dukes, President, NAACP New York State Conference, Melanie Campbell, President & CEO of Black Women's Roundtable, and Susan Taylor, former Editor-in-Chief of Essence Magazine and founder of the National CARES Mentoring Movement wrote an open letter speaking to David’s contributions to the community and his character.
“We, the Colleagues and Friends of Alphonso David are compelled to issue this open letter stating that we stand with him as he continues to lead the Human Rights Campaign with the same professional acumen, passion, vigor, and commitment to civil rights of all people particularly his own LGBTQ+ community, which he has done his entire career,” the statement read. “We join with Mr. David in denouncing any toxic work environment that creates inequality and disrespect for global humanity.”
The Human Rights Campaign has launched its own investigation into David’s work as Chief Counsel to Gov. Cuomo. He currently still holds his position as president of the organization.