NICHOLAS ALAHVERDIAN PLEADS WITH RHODE ISLANDERS TO SUPPORT LEGISLATION THAT WOULD CREATE DCYF EMERGENCY OVERSIGHT COMMISSION
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Longtime child welfare advocate Nicholas Alahverdian today released a video in conjunction with his plea to reform the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth, and Families. Since Alahverdian has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, it is not anticipated that his advocacy efforts will last much longer. In the video, Alahverdian and Rep. Ray Hull ask Rhode Islanders to contact their legislators as well as Speaker Nicholas Mattiello to voice their support for a resolution that would give the Rhode Island House of Representatives unprecedented powers to investigate and reform the Rhode Island DCYF.
On February 14, 2020, Representative Ray Hull, along with Reps. John Lombardi, David Bennett, and James McLoughlin have introduced legislation that would create the Emergency Oversight Committee on DCYF. For far too long, DCYF has been an agency perpetually steeped in chaos and pandemonium. Kids are dying more than ever in the Raimondo-era DCYF.
Nicholas Alahverdian has been at the forefront of DCYF reform for nearly two decades. He was recently diagnosed with late-stage non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Alahverdian served as a page and a legislative aide in the Rhode Island General Assembly from 2002-2003 and was simultaneously in the care of the DCYF due to his abusive parents. He was able to provide insight into the abusive and negligent practices such as the night-to-night program and the lack of adequate facilities of the Department to senators and representatives.
Alahverdian subsequently took a leave of absence as a General Assembly employee to become a lobbyist to further his advocacy. Deemed a publicity threat as a result of his advocacy, he was then sent by DCYF to two out of state placements in Nebraska and Florida where he was raped, beaten, and allowed no contact with the outside world until his 18th birthday. He later attended Harvard University and had a career as a lobbyist and government relations consultant.
In 2011, Alahverdian began a lengthy legal and political battle against DCYF, filing legislation in conjunction with Reps. Bob DaSilva, Ray Hull, Arthur Handy, and Michael Marcello to reform DCYF, end out of state placements, and create a DCYF oversight committee, three bills which were supported by the majority of the members of the House of Representatives but failed to get out of committee. In federal court, he also sued the DCYF as well as the group homes where the abuse occurred. The case was ultimately settled in 2013.
Regarding the bill, Nicholas Alahverdian said “The policy of this bill is safety of children at every cost. The aim of this bill is adequate education and housing for children in the care of the state. People may ask at what cost. We say at any cost, for the life of a child in a system with a $220+ million budget deserves at the very least, food, schooling, and stable shelter, and if possible, a family life. We must never give up, and I certainly won’t.”
This is one of the many reasons why I am now a believer in a fiscally conservative political platform and do not support certain Democratic demagogues that abuse taxpayer money. Broken state agencies such as the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth & Families (DCYF) do not deserve more money to sink into programs that are unproven and ineffective.
Fiscal irresponsibility is merely reason why the United States Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families has slammed DCYF on over 30 areas needed for improvement. Perhaps a better idea to start saving money at DCYF would be to cut ineffective lifetime bureaucrats like Mike Burk (longtime Democratic pawn and former Tiverton Town Council candidate) and corrupt money launderer Kevin Aucoin and both of their > six figure salaries. The state would save around $250,000.00 with their long-deserved termination.
These public “servants” are not servants at all — they are parasitical, money-grubbing crooks who have spent decades illicitly reallocating federal funds to programs for which they were not originally intended, misreporting expenditures to the state and federal governments, and knowingly accepting kickbacks for placing children in for-profit congregate care facilities — all on the dime of the taxpayer.
As I’ve grown older, my Christmases have become progressively better. Usually it’s the other way around. People tend to experience that magical feeling next to a tree decorated with glittery, beautiful ornaments best when they are young. But when one grows up in foster care, it’s a nightmare.
I was a foster kid. Some would say orphan. Others would say “ward of the state.” It was a horrible situation, especially for me, because I would end up dealing with even worse abuse than most other foster kids because I reported the abusive practices of what was going on in the state social service system to my legislators and other state officials. But we shall save that story for another time.Continue reading The Unopened Christmas Gift
Once I reached Manhattan, I went to each of the major news networks and newspapers to speak with producers, receptionists, and researchers. I was armed with documents and proof of the corruption, abuse and negligence that was ensuing in the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families.
I scheduled appointments with producers from NBC’s Today show as well as The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News among other networks. Those were the two shows that confirmed my appearance during the first episodes of the New Year. The other appearances were to be solidified within the coming weeks.
I finished my work on Christmas Eve. Everything was sorted out, and I was excited. One of the producers bought me a hotel ticket for my final evening in Manhattan so that I didn’t have to sleep on the subway again.
I made my way back to Rhode Island with train tickets in hand — paid for by a television host himself — for the appearances in January. All I had to do was keep quiet and let Jeremiah (who bore an uncanny resemblance to Jabba the Hut) enjoy his Christmas feast. And then I would strike.
Unfortunately, Jeremiah had been tipped off that I was meeting with the press locally — WJAR (the NBC affiliate), WPRI (the CBS affiliate), and The Providence Journal had all done stories on me again — yet Jeremiah had no idea about the national news that was about to break.
And he wouldn’t, because he single-handedly killed the stories without even knowing they were going to be aired.
He had the power to keep me from contacting anyone after placing me in a secure facility in Rhode Island until I could be flown to Nebraska. I was literally Court-ordered to not leave the youth shelter and the staff were similarly ordered to not allow me to use the telephone, send letters, or leave the property. I was devastated.
Said another way, he proceeded to deem me a threat to myself because I was “not complying with my treatment” — that was always their go-to excuse when I arranged to have the truth about the abuse and negligence inherent in the DCYF and the Family Court illuminated in the press and the court of public opinion.
Note: This article was originally published in October 2018, prior to the election upon which this commentary is based. Ultimately, Gina Raimondo was re-elected, and the problems at DCYF have only worsened, just as political scientist and author of Dreading and Hoping All Nicholas Alahverdian predicted. Director Trista Piccola was fired, preventable abuse has continued to occur, and overspending — to the tune of millions of dollars — is rampant. If Raimondo had not been re-elected, DCYF may have been on the road to recovery. Unfortunately, Raimondo’s natural knack for a lack of leadership has set the tone until the end of her second and final term.
According to Rhode Island political expert Nicholas Alahverdian, Rhode Island is embroiled in an important race for governor this election cycle. They really have only two choices: Republican Allan Fung and Democrat Gina Raimondo. Joe Trillo could very well be a Raimondo plant. He seems to have a personal vendetta against Allan Fung that transcends this election.
Gina Raimondo has brought the state to its knees. Nicholas Mattiello, Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives, makes things even worse. They both fail Rhode Islanders because of the UHIP fiasco, the DCYF deaths, the loss of the Pawtucket Red Sox, the distorted data in the state’s online transparency portal, and too many other errors to name.
The success of Mayor Allan Fung
Allan Fung, in contrast, presides over one of the top 50 cities in America. He is an honest, sincere mayor of the second largest city in Rhode Island. Fung listens to his constituents and hears what they have to say. “Simply put,” said Nicholas Alahverdian, “Fung will do the same thing in the Governor’s office. He will listen, weigh the options, and decide the best course of action.”
“Gina Raimondo is a wealthy East Side limousine liberal,” opined Nicholas Alahverdian. “She is cut from the same cloth as those who speak endlessly about “working families” and supporting the average Rhode Islander. At the end of the day though, her security detail drives her back to her lush East Side home where she can live her life in peace and prosperity with her family while Rhode Islanders suffer and kids in DCYF care are tortured and killed.”
“Apparently caring about working Rhode Islanders only lasts until 5pm on a weekday.”
Allan Fung will be the antithesis of Gina Raimondo. Dare I say he will be the anti-Gina Raimondo. He will bring back jobs, he will lower taxes, and he will protect kids in DCYF care. There is no question in this election — Gina Raimondo is inherently unfit to be governor due to the numerous disasters we’ve seen in four short years.
“Rhode Islanders can be guaranteed that if Allan Fung is elected, from 2019 on we will see a Rhode Island with more possibilities,” said Nicholas Alahverdian. We will see an air of optimism and not despair. Allan will do his best to bring the spirit of dynamism back to the Ocean State — something we’ve sadly been long without.
Not the Ol’ Boys Club anymore — Gina leads the “Troll Girls Club”
Gina Raimondo presides over a state in which the gears grind on political deals and an ol’ boys club culture. That has now turned into a troll girls club. “I use the term ‘troll girls club’ not as a mark of disrespect, but because Gina is trolling Allan Fung. She refuses to debate him one-on-one without the distraction of Joe Trillo, the candidate without a chance. She is blasé at his suggestions for leadership tactics that will work. And she dismisses his common sense solutions to fix state departments,” said Nicholas Alahverdian.
Rhode Island will thrive with Governor Fung
Rhode Island is lost in the woods. Gina Raimondo will continue to lead broken departments where kids are killed, DMV lines go out the door, and unqualified professionals make executive decisions.
“I am confident that inept lifetime bureaucrats like Mike Burk and Kevin Aucoin will finally be shown the door at DCYF, ending their reign of terror once and for all,” said Nicholas Alahverdian. “Allan Fung will audit and analyze each and every facet of DCYF to ensure that the agency is the epitome of what a child welfare system should be from when he is elected and into the future.”
Allan Fung will provide real leadership from day one. He is a hands-on mayor and he will be a hands-on Governor. He will repair the Ocean State and give it what it needs — a boost in its economy and its self-esteem. With Allan at the helm, kids will be safer, jobs will increase, and more money will flow into the state than ever. He will be Rhode Island’s champion — and relentlessly fight for our families and children.
Nicholas Alahverdian, a Harvard political scientist, researches the intersection of rhetoric, philology, and politics. His newest book, Dreading and Hoping All, will be released in October 2019.
Alahverdian worked for the Rhode Island state government at the same time he was in foster care. He was able to provide unique insight into the conditions of the foster homes and shelters in which he lived. As a result of his being a whistleblower and informing the senators and representatives with whom he worked of the conditions of the state’s DCYF, he became a political and publicity threat to the chief judge of the Rhode Island Family Court, Judge Jeremiah S. Jeremiah.
Unfortunately, Judge Jeremiah obliterated this threat by sending Nicholas Alahverdian hundreds of miles away to Florida and Nebraska where he was tortured and allowed to contact no one — not the courts, nor his legislators, nor any lawyers — until his 18th birthday. And by then, he was on a copious cocktail of drugs that he became a zombie, beyond all recognition.
Nicholas Alahverdian later sued his abusers his federal court, won, escaped the torture that ensued after he exposed the widespread abuse in the Rhode Island foster care system, attended Harvard University, and became a successful writer, lobbyist, and scholar.
Nicholas Alahverdian consults with many local, county, state, and national governments about how to enhance the human services industry and is a world-renowned expert in reforming systemic foster care problems and exposing governmental corruption.
The first thing I remember is the brightness of the sun. The blazing, white-hot sun, and then being whisked into a luxurious lobby.It was a welcome departure from the drab, impoverished climate of Omaha, Nebraska where I had spent the previous 24 months.As I sit and attempt to remember the month that I was sent to this hellhole in Florida, my mind is simply drawn blank. That’s how overmedicated I was.
For Nicholas Alahverdian, a Harvard scholar with a vast array of research interests and focal areas, Jackson Pollock’s work was that of a genius.
Jackson Pollock’s painting style was not merely improvisational – it also incorporated characteristics reminiscent of those artists and authors who engaged in the practice of writing and/or painting in the style of stream-of-consciousness.
Drip after drip, smear after smear, mixing the two – these techniques cumulatively defined the greatness of his work.
Loyal to his art and chronically dissatisfied with his performance, he lengthened his artistic stride to further his aesthetic interpretation of the world in which we live.
About Nicholas Alahverdian
Nicholas Alahverdian was born and raised in the Boston metropolitan area. Orphaned at the age of 14, Nicholas was a bookworm and aspired to become a lawyer, journalist, and an elected official. Nicholas said “I found that each profession complemented the other, and as one grows in influence in one field, they simultaneously acquire knowledge to assist intellectual advancement in variant fields. Law, journalism, and politics have a symbiotic relationship with one another, and being involved in those three fields as a professional would epitomize being a public servant.”
At Harvard, he concentrated in comparative literature and political science. His professors and advisors included Henry Louis Gates, Jr., John Hamilton, Theo Theoharis, and Thomas Underwood.
Alahverdian has taught political science, literature and creative writing as an adjunct lecturer at Harvard University and other institutions. Nicholas taught courses on political advocacy in the 21st century, with a particular focus on how multiple factors are damaging public faith in elections. and in some cases, democracy in its totality. Nicholas has long been a key figure in helping companies and individuals adopt a fresh approach to campaigning and lobbying, discarding outdated tactics and restructuring for greater success and revenue generation.
Nicholas Alahverdian worked on many political campaigns, including stints with Cranston Mayor John O’Leary, State Representative Raymond A. Hull, East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva, and many others. Nicholas Alahverdian’s interests outside of work include poetry, the opera, and reading.
In this volume, Lewis explicates the meaning of ‘law’ in the material sense as well as the spiritual sense. Lewis speaks of the Law of Nature and how it “must be something above and beyond the actual facts of human behaviour (p. 23).” As Lewis explains further, he parallels observation with speculation and notes that man doesn’t observe he is man, he in fact knows and actively recognizes he is man as he says “we are men (ibid).”
When man received the Mosaic law, he recognized that there were regulations exacted by God to his people. Wisdom, as interpreted by the Jews, was knowing through God and faith, whereas Socratic wisdom consisted of knowing that one cannot know all.
As the Mosaic law sustained the people throughout the centuries, it became clear that it was imperative that the law be fulfilled so that the men of Lewis’ description could be the recipients of the comprehensive blessings associated with the fulfillment of the Law. Indeed, it was faith that made Abraham righteous; the law came after. As was detailed in the lecture of May 18th, the law was always destined to prepare for Christ as it was a step on the path to Him.
There are three kinds of Catholic law: eternal law; natural law, and positive law (as discussed in the lecture on May 19th). The Ten Commandments stood to govern exterior human acts and prepare for Christ whilst the New Law is the Law of Love and is in direct correlation with freedom and grace. This law fulfills the Old Law and governs interior human acts.
As Christ said, “Do unto others as you would that they should do unto you.” Humanity obeying this law would singlehandedly solve most of the ethical and moral problems in the world. The foundation of iniquity to Lewis is pride (p. 122) and as such, the solution of the aforementioned problems would be attained through the dissolution of pride which “leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind (ibid).” Pride is the antithesis of Godliness; it is doing to others the polar opposite of what one would want done to him.
Jim Hickok and I sat in a dark diner in a lodge during a light snow, silently staring into our coffee and mulling over the recent midterm election. As Jim wasn’t from the Ocean State, I had to give him the lowdown on the ways of Rogue’s Island. In the smallest state, you had schemers and cleaners, aging old school dons and Italian grandmothers who still didn’t speak English. You had the different hills of the capital city, straight out of central casting, each with its distinct power structure — with some based in legitimate interests and others in so-called crime.
For two decades with a brief interruption, this capital city of this state called Rogue — the Island of Rogue — had an inspirational Mayor. Some say he was Jekyll, some say he was Hyde, but at one point or another, aren’t we all a little bit of both?
Jim worked as a stagecoach driver and had met some colorful characters out there on the high prairie and the frozen tundra. He was well known throughout the west as a gambler and actor. He had seen it all. Jim had many stories to tell and met people I could only dream of meeting. He had lived in places far and wide, and if there ever was a thing Jim Hickok knew how to do well, it was to put his finger on the pulse of a town and see what made its gears turn.
Jim sat back and stared at me with his icy eyes. “Back where I’m from we have a saying embossed on a plaque that we give to every incoming elected official, no matter their office,” he said. “It goes something like this. Oh, let me write it down… you’ll need it some day, Nicholas.”
Jim grabbed a napkin and pulled a fountain pen from his leather waistcoat, which seemed to have a pocket for something needed for any profession. This was *the* Jim Hickok after all.
He handed me the most luxuriously crisp parchment upon which he wrote:
“Leader of the people, come with humble heart, know there are few that can play your part. When you are faced with worry or woe, ensure you do right for friend or foe. Will you serve your fellow man? Remember the code taught since time began.”
After the passage, on that crisp beautiful parchment, old Jim Hickok wrote “To Nicholas Alahverdian, survivor of the Island of Rogue. May the eyes of God weep on that land until the corrupt scions and political lions are flooded out.”
“Island of Rogue,” I said. “Quite fitting.”
Island of Rogue
“Son, don’t you even know your own history?” Jim asked, sounding slightly annoyed. “I’d hate to go back West and tell them about the fabled Nicholas Alahverdian, that old survivor, the one they called the storm, who everyone thought fought so hard yet had so little faith in himself, was yearning to learn but applying it to nothing, working for something but forgetting why he started fighting like a one-armed boxer in the first place.”
I stared into the black abyss of the coffee, trying to focus myself into oblivion. Here was old Jim Hickok, the legend. The lore surrounding this man haunted me for decades. Now he was insulting my performance. I didn’t even know anyone bought a ticket, let alone someone was watching the performance that was my broken, shattered life.
Hickok stood up from his chair, his heavy leather boots stomping on the creaky wooden floor and shaking the trinkets on the walls of the lodge.
He grabbed me by the lapels and shouted, “Besides the tigers that crouch and wait for your blood, why were you brought here? You’ve walked with great men, they’ve led you with the scepter and the pen. You betray the promise you made the day you left home. The promise you were meant to keep under every spire, roof, and dome.”
I felt sick and queasy and he tossed me about. Old Jim could easily fry me as he would a freshly caught trout.
Haunted by the past and fearful of the future
I stuttered and staggered, falling about like a bleeding hound. “Under the dome of which you speak on a hill called Smith, I shined a light on a war that people called a myth. The forests know, as do the mountains; nature is my silent witness that the blood spouted from my head like a million fountains. I was nearly killed, just another body for the counting. And then one winter night, a villianous trollop made everything worse, and forevermore they’ve left me with this curse.”
Hickok just stared at my discourse as if it floated in the air, something tangible, nearly palpable. His burly fists still clutched my lapels, like pearls clinging to shells.
Jim Hickok paused and released his grasp. “Nicholas Alahverdian, don’t you know why you survived so many blows? The curse of which you speak was a ticket to a life — without it, your existence would be terse. You were taught to travel, ramble, and roam, and never again will you be alone. You survived a treacherous scheme masquerading as a church, they bedeviled you from their lowly perch. As the wind came and went and blew you away, you survived yet another day. Do you remember your days in the Ivory Tower, your moments of enlightenment blooming like a flower? No more did you need a motley unattractive throng, no more did you require to sing the warrior’s song. You fought power and you demanded penance from a corrupt king, you made everything new — your life, once again, is in its morning.”
The Renaissance is a lie
Two men appeared, dressed in black. They held newspapers with headlines. Electoral victories for Nicholas Mattiello and Gina Raimondo. Rogue’s Island remains true to its name. Hickok grabbed the paper from his bodyguard and walked slowly back towards me. “You don’t want to be on this sinking ship,” he said, “that you can see through the nearly blinding brine. You would speak the truth and once again be treated like swine.”
I put on my Stetson and moved for the door. “Old Jim,” I said, “My thanks comes from my heart, indeed, it comes from its core.” I turned around and closed my eyes, the frost on my face felt like a welcome prize.
”Alahverdian!” he shouted, before I left. “Don’t ever think you’re ever bereft. Your fighting days are over, step away from the deaf and blind. Go forward with wisdom, and use your mind. Those rogues, Nick and Gina, this is their day, but know now and forever, they have a price to pay. Just like those past who ruled from under that dome, their corruption and treachery will soon be known. But don’t waste your time, it’s no longer your war, you’ve made your mark and it has been felt at the core.”
I looked down, my brow caked with sweat. I forgot about the Mayor, which I began to regret. “Old Jim,” I said, “One more thing. The Mayor brought more than anyone else could bring. To this Island of Rogues, he gave a city called Renaissance, his place in history firmly ensconced. To suffer and be exiled from my glorious city, doesn’t it cause you to have any pity?”
“Nicholas,” he said, “in Renaissance, your skies were eerily overcast, and don’t you recall, the fiery blast? It’s not your home, you don’t belong, they tortured and beat you, and sung you death’s song. I can bring you back. I can let you see. But do you really want to engage in such stupidity?”
I shuffled my boots and emptied my brain. I thought of the strife, I thought of the pain. It was Jim, who reminded me of this toil, and at that second my blood started to boil.
“Old Jim,” I said, “It seems you’re right. There’s no point in returning to a land without light. They drained the sea when they exiled me, the first time, the second — there won’t be three.”
Old Jim stood solid at the brass back door. He straightened his tie and tapped his cane on the floor. “Alahverdian,” said he, “you’ve finally made the best choice. There are causes and efforts more worthy of your voice.”
I turned around, and faced the cold. I knew in my heart the decision was bold. Chopping down the tree of knowledge, I thought of their hate. I then knew that this was my fate. I worked and toiled and made a pirogue, to sail forever away from the Island of Rogue.
From Thoughts on Autumn, Harvard, and the Future of Today’s Students by Nicholas Alahverdian, 2014
“Autumn is typically associated with expiration, the death of the leaves on the trees and the mounds of yellow, red, and orange leaves gathering on the ground. But autumn is also a time of a sort of birth for the intellectual. Autumn helps to assist with the improvement of one’s mind, it is the time when most students are beginning again their studies.
“Autumn is the perfect season with which to engage in learning and study for me because of the colors of the leaves and the natural stimulation of the surrounding beauty of the landscape of whatever collegiate setting I would find myself in. It is especially inspiring and edifying, almost as if the colors surrounding me simply spark the creative corner of my brain.”