COVID-19: Former College Hooper Leads Targeted Relief Effort In Black Chicago

By Isi Frank Ativie

Facebook technology sourcing consultant David Kushnir noticed that the COVID-19 pandemic has horrifically affected the Chicago Black community during the past ten months.

Kushnir is also highly concerned that African-Americans are mostly at risk of contracting the Coronavirus more than other ethnic groups nationally. The constant news updates on this disastrous tribulation has alerted him to help and serve Black Chicagoans.  

 “Seeing this hitting our Black communities harder than the other areas is kind of alarming,” Kushnir stated. “I don’t want to see this community that is already at risk to become even more at risk in the future. I can’t just sit back and watch people die on the news every day. If I can save a life or help someone from getting sick, then that right there is all I really want.”     

Mike Burley/Dubuque Telegraph Herald
David Kushnir works the hardcourt as a member of the University of Dubuque basketball team in 2011

The University of Dubuque graduate and former basketball star believes that elderly African-Americans have higher chances of being infected with COVID-19 than the younger generation. These circumstances would become much dire if some Black elders are currently living with other illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

“We’re putting our elderly in harm’s way,” Kushnir said. “We got to be a little more cognitive of that. And make sure that we’re not infecting ourselves, but our elders and families. We need to make sure and be aware of all those issues that are in hand, and not just for ourselves.”  

With a friend, a wholesaler named Rick Shah, the Skokie, Illinois native has already ordered large amounts of N95 masks and disposable gloves, leading to over 30 donations of personal protective equipment by the time of this publishing. Shah and Kushnir targeted the distribution of these useful items to underprivileged African-Americans from the West and South Side neighborhoods, particularly in the Austin community area.

Kushnir’s fiancée Brittney Cato is president of the associates board of Marillac St. Vincent Family Services, a non-profit organization helps unfortunate African-American and Hispanic families on the West Side. Cato is also working with Kushnir in efforts relating to COVID-19 relief awareness. 

“We don’t have access to many tests and gear as other communities,” Kushnir said. “We have to be a little bit more safe and practical. Wearing masks and staying six feet apart sounds simple, but we’re trying to stick with it. Especially with the summertime coming around with the hot weather, people are going to be outside. I just think that if you’re outside with people, protect not only yourself, but protect others.”  

In the wake of these initial distributions of PPE, Kushnir is looking for added support from throughout his personal network, including childhood friends, to volunteer and participate by helping the Black community on COVID-19 relief — he sees as particularly key Black parents being of support to their children, as in many areas, such as in Chicago’s public schools, teachers and their schools are currently in heated negotiations regarding how and when to return to classrooms. 

“Right now, a lot of students aren’t in school,” Kushnir stated. “So a lot of their parents are in need of help. If you can hop on a phone with someone’s kid and give them a math or science lesson, that right there is just putting time in helping mentor a child. It’s something that their parents can’t do, because they’re too busy right now.” 

Meanwhile, the 30 year old, who also works as a professional sign model and personal certified trainer, simultaneously makes more moves while reflecting on how he hopes he can inspire the Black community with his dedication to serve his people as a humanitarian. 

According to Kushnir, “I’m hoping that my actions here really do make an impact and kind of help people in the community. There are people who are doing a lot more than what I’m doing, and they’re making a huge impact in the community.” 

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