Dreading and Hoping All
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Excerpt from Dreading and Hoping All
By Nicholas Alahverdian
Copyright © 2019 by The Nicholas Edward Alahverdian Trust. All rights reserved.
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Chapter One: Hellfire in Florida
Hell is other people
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.
Let’s move on. It was in 2004. I was 16 years old. I flew from Nebraska to Sarasota, Florida with my DCYF social worker and we drove up the massive Tampa bridge. I remember feeling so dizzy and very paranoid. I hadn’t been in a car in about two years as I endured significant torture and was court-ordered out of the Omaha facility due to severe and persistent physical abuse and other atrocities. I had first been sent to the Omaha facility, Boys Town, from my home state of Rhode Island, and the tragedies suffered in that hell-hole shall be discussed at length in another book in this series.
I was exiled from Rhode Island, my home, because I was becoming a political and publicity threat. And Florida was deemed far enough from Rhode Island to continue to keep me in exile where I could contact no soul who could help me after it became apparent that the state of Nebraska was closing down the facility in which I’d been placed because of significant widespread abuse and numerous federal and state regulatory violations.
Besides, the Boys Town cretins had become exhausted by my demands to protect my Constitutional rights and allow me to do what I was constitutionally protected to do. Rights including speaking with lawyers and filing civil or criminal court actions. Contacting the press. Contacting my DCYF social worker. Contacting state regulatory agencies in both Rhode Island and Nebraska. Contacting the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. And other rights that triggered action on my behalf due to the egregious abuse and negligence I suffered at Boys Town Intensive Residential Treatment Center. Put down the book and listen closely for a moment. Hear that sound? That’s Father Edward Flanagan, the founder of Boys Town and depicted by Spencer Tracy in the eponymous 1939 Academy Award- winning film Boys Town rolling in his grave at the thought of what Father Val Peter did to his legacy. Thankfully, Peter’s successor Father Stephen Boes seems to have banned Peter from campus. He may, however, want to take a look at Matthew Peter, Douglas Spellman, and Pat Connell. They were a big part of the abuse and negligence that went on at the Boys Town Intensive Residential Treatment Center, and their activities will be discussed in a future volume of this series.
This was all followed by my employment with the State of Rhode Island General Assembly. In other words, the Omaha cowboys chose the wrong man to test their Freudian superiority complex. I knew the law and that frightened them. Which is why they settled my lawsuit against them years later for a rather substantial sum, as did many others.
Armed with diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), clinical depression, and dysthymia, the power players in Rhode Island who wanted me gone — and more than that, wanted me silent — had instructed the DCYF to exaggerate my conditions and mental state to find a place where I would remain far from home and unable to contact anyone via phone or postal service until I was 18 years old.
In other words, they wanted to keep me overmedicated in a locked residential treatment center until I would “age out of the system” when there was no justified reason, medically or psychologically, for doing so.
And they wanted me to be as drugged up as possible so as to not have the mental capacity to engage in any of the typical Nicholas Alahverdian behaviors that I would typically exhibit such as phoning the courts, attorneys, and the press when something abhorrent, newsworthy, or constitutionally questionable occurred.
Why start this multi-volume series of books with what happened in Florida? Probably because it’s the best proof that the power players in Rhode Island politics knew that what they were doing was wrong — and they continued to knowingly and needlessly keep me hundreds of miles away from home.
They knew they were sending me to a place that had several grand jury indictments issued against it, a place that had admittedly hired convicted child abusers, and a place that was owned by the now-defunct Psychiatric Solutions Incorporated (PSI) — an institution that was lambasted by governmental leaders, the press, and patients and families as a broken money-making machine that coveted profits and condoned people in their care.
PSI was widely slammed in the 2000s for operating a vast network of troubled facilities. It was a for-profit hospital corporation listed on the NASDAQ.
These PSI facilities, as I remarked in a Rhode Island State House press conference in March 2011 and confirmed in Pro Publica investigations carried out before, during, and after my admission to Manatee Palms in 2004, would follow this proven profit-making pattern: they would buy up troubled youth and adult residential treatment centers, cut the number of employees, increase the bed capacity, and then reap in the profits — no matter the abuse and neglect suffered by patients or the psychological toll taken on their families.
The epitome of the PSI model as described above was implemented at the Florida treatment center that I was sent to, leaving me far from Rhode Island, but also far from the reality of attending any high school. This took things a step further. I could forget about acquiring any type of appropriate education before my 18th birthday. And to me, as education was literally everything to me, this was devastating.
This was crucially important to me as a 17-year-old with lifelong aspirations of attending an Ivy Legaue university. I had not realized, in fact, I think my brain failed to allow me to realize, that not only was I not getting an education, but I also wasn’t preparing for the incredibly critical university admission test, the SAT. The thought of not attending university only added to my spirit-sapping dysthymia.
It would also threaten my will to live in a way that I had not previously experienced. Education was always my therapeutic retreat from chaos and pandemonium due to my rather traumatic upbringing. And now there was no refuge. Only the singular hope that somehow, some way, I would be excused from a traditional secondary education by a top-tier university where I would attempt to succeed and thrive with all of my might.
With this seemingly horrible hand of cards dealt to me, I was far from college preparation, far from Mar-a-Lago, West Palm Beach, or Walt Disney World. The only four things that the sunshine state could offer me — beaches, future presidents, filmmakers, and decent seafood — were well out of reach from behind the questionable barbed wire and locked doors (again! Why am I locked in a “hospital” when I haven’t committed a crime and I am not dangerous to myself or anyone else?).
Far from both the rich and the poor, this NASDAQ-listed, for-profit, felon-hiring, barbed-wired kid jail next door to a Walmart where adolescents were sent without a jury trial or consistent state oversight was a purgatory that didn’t seem to exist in this reality — it was a dystopian universe unto its own.
It was a place where adolescents readying for adulthood was not a priority but a running joke, as it was not uncommon for the staff to place bets on which patient would be a prisoner first and for which crimes. A place where the employees and patients formed rival gangs and held impromptu boxing matches and violent brawls, taking no prisoners. The matches ended when the loser was on the floor in the corner unconscious. As I said on The Buddy Cianci Show on 630 WPRO in October 2012, Manatee Palms was just like the film Fight Club. Manatee Palms was essentially a Fight Club-themed hotel.
And for people like me who never threw a punch, I learned to get to the corner quickly. Some would ask at this point, “Well why didn’t you just not go to the gymnasium.” The answer is simple. If you didn’t go, you would get a shot of body-paralyzing, mind-torturing, and dystonia-inducing thorazine. Because you were noncompliant. That’s how these sick fucking people operated. Either you do what we say or we fucking drug you up until you can’t move anymore and you feel like you have 20,000 bee stings all over your body for the next two hours and then you refuse the next activity and we can give you another shot of this drug that’s basically a throwback from the 50’s. It’s fucking insane. And it’s responsible for several health problems that I’m currently suffering.
There were other events, in which I did participate, and even those couldn’t go smoothly. One day early into my stay some genius thought it would be a good idea for a cohort of severely mentally ill people to watch the Michael Moore documentary Bowling for Columbine. I had personally seen this before and didn’t think it was appropriate due to the fact that there were kids who were going to be watching this film and they were going to be significantly impacted in ways that mights not be positive. But oh well. What authority did I have to say otherwise.
Bowling for Columbine elicited so much racial fury that the white minority among the staff and patients — solely me because I was the only white person among the staff and residents — would be a punching bag for a two hour melee of 12 blacks and Hispanics beating me as if I was the embodiment of the white race for the past 1,500 years and responsible for the heinous sins committed against them and/or their ancestors.
Welcome to Manatee Palms Youth Services.
(which, in 2011, The Providence Journal accurately described as ‘deceptively named”), wholly owned and operated by PSI, was a dumping ground for kids from around the United States that allegedly had “severe behavioral problems”.
Remember — my diagnoses at throughout my life were and remain to this day as follows: depression, dysthymia, and PTSD. I had become an orphan because my family had disintegrated, my mother was a severe alcoholic and drug addict, and I hadn’t had any contact with my biological father since the age of 7 (and for the record, I still haven’t).
But Manatee Palms is where I ended up.
I did not have any “behavioral problems” let alone “severe” behavioral issues. If granting interviews to the press about a broken foster care system or demanding a consistent public school placement and testifying before House and Senate committees are “behavioral problems”, them I confess to being behaviorally problematic. But I wasn’t. I was simply a political and publicity problem to lifetime bureaucrats with six figure salaries and/or pensions with connections far and wide who were tired of seeing the Department for which they were responsible be slammed by a 14-year-old punk like me in the newspaper and on the 6:00 news.
Of course, the State of Rhode Island Family Court, led by Chief Judge Jeremiah S. Jeremiah, conveniently had one of his staff psychiatrists certify that I had something known as “conduct disorder” — something that I was never diagnosed with previously or since — which qualified me as an eligible candidate for Manatee Palms after things were becoming murky in Omaha when Nebraskan state regulators became involved after constant abuse and torture was discovered and Boys Town was ordered to shut down the controversial and abusive program to which I was admitted. The Court’s staff psychiatrist also claimed “oppositional defiant disorder” — which is hilarious, because if, say, I’m on the debate team, like I was at one of the 12 high schools I went to while I was in the night-to-night program, isn’t being oppositional and defiant a good trait? Protecting and defending your argument? I was quoted in a November 2002 article in The Providence Journal that I wanted to be a lawyer, journalist and a politician. All of those things require some sort of opposition and defiance. Obviously if you’re getting abused or neglected, you have to oppose and defy that abuse and neglect with all of your might. And if you fight for your rights as a foster kid at the people’s house in your state like I did at the Rhode Island State House — just like unions, minorities, gay rights activists, and all of the other people who have marched, screamed, and shouted in unison in the aesthetically bursting rotunda — have opposed or defied some force that was denying them a right or oppressing them.
There were kids being moved from night-to-night to different shelters. That was my argument. My conduct revolved around fixing this broken system. I was oppositional and defiant because we deserved a daily education, three meals a day, and a stable living space. Prisoners had a better deal with the State of Rhode Island than the kids like me in the night-to-night program.
We couldn’t go to school. They were giving us KFC, McDonald’s, or Burger King for dinner when they actually had the donated vouchers. If they didn’t have the vouchers, then you would starve. Don’t believe me? There were plenty of kids in the night-to-night program and I know that they would tell you the same as I have. The conditions were brutal. Sitting in the lobby of a bureaucratic building with 20-year-old murals on the wall with ancient National Geographic and Sports Illustrated magazines? And then the kid walks out of the building — because who on earth, even in 2003 before kids had cell phones, wants to be stuck in that situation for 16 hours a day — and they go to downtown Providence where they are exposed to unhealthy influences and drugs in Kennedy Plaza or Burnside Park. Their DCYF social worker marks them as AWOL until they are found or return to the DCYF building.
Me? I went to the State House. That was my refuge. I worked, and then when there became a conflict of interest because I was lobbying more than I was working, I lobbied. So if I was oppositional or defiant at any point because I didn’t want to eat tax-payer funded fast food nor did I feel that it was in my best interest to sit for 16 hours in a State office building so I decided to go to work at my job (where your bosses, the elected officials are, and where I know you don’t want me to be) or if I decide to testify as a lobbyist how dreadful your Department is because you can’t even get kids to school or find them a foster home within a six to eight month time period, then that’s too goddamn bad. If it’s oppositional and defiant according to the criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders at the time (the DSM-IV, which I read when I was 12), then so be it, because of course I am going to oppose and defy “figures of authority” when they tell me I don’t have a stable placement to go to, I can’t go to the same school everyday, I can’t go to my medical appointments set months in advance. You’re not a figure of authority. You’re a figure of weakness making the State look bad.
Anyway, back to Manatee Palms. The admission standards of Manatee Palms weren’t exactly as stringent as what I would experience when I successfully applied for admission to Harvard. However, the faux “conduct disorder” and “oppositional defiant disorder” for the aforementioned political activism and advocacy helped, even though they were misnomers). Because this is a PSI facility — remember, profit first, safety later, no matter the personal cost — essentially if the state from which you came was willing to pay the $350.00 or so per day that it cost to be “treated” at Manatee Palms, you were on the next flight toward Walt Disney World. However, there would be a slight detour with the final destination being a hellish dystopia as opposed to a Magic Kingdom of any sort.
You wouldn’t be met by a friendly anthropomorphic mouse. There would be no cotton candy with swirling teacup rides and exhilarating jaunts down Splash Mountain. No. You were at Manatee Palms. You would be met with punches. And kicks. And sexual assault. And fecal matter thrown at you. And urine in your food. You didn’t even need an upgrade for those perks.
So why would Judge Jeremiah S. Jeremiah want to send me all the way to Florida, and before that, to Nebraska? Well, it all started when I began to be invited by members of the Rhode Island Democratic Party to be active in politics — both city- and statewide. We’ll save the interesting story about how I temporarily found myself in the political spotlight and started working for the government for another volume in this series, but for now, let’s go back to how Judge Jeremiah slowly continued to ruin my adolescence.
Jeremiah, a Republican, was a judge appointed by Governor Edward DiPrete. DiPrete and Jeremiah go way back. Jeremiah served as DiPrete’s city solicitor when he was Mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island. When DiPrete was elected and took office as Rhode Island Governor in 1985, he brought Jeremiah along as the Executive Counsel — the Governor’s official lawyer and a top advisor.
DiPrete served as governor until 1991, when millionaire businessman Bruce Sundlun (a Democrat) finally managed to unseat him after two previously unsuccessful attempts.
Corruption was rife in the DiPrete Administration. DiPrete himself ended up serving eleven months in state prison for bribery, extortion, and racketeering after pleading guilty in December 1998.
Because Jeremiah’s appointment as a Family Court Judge (along with a hefty six figure state pension) led him away from the corrupt forces of the DiPrete Administration, Jeremiah was able to escape most of the scrutiny that other DiPrete associates had the privilege of enduring.
Regardless of whether or not Jeremiah should have been included in the DiPrete corruption probe, the fact that this decades-old friendship, professional relationship, and mutual backscratching that led DiPrete to make a gubernatorial appointment for his old friend Jerry Jeremiah is not a coincidence. As longtime Rhode Island child advocate Anne Grant called the relationship between DiPrete and Jeremiah, it was simply the “Cranston cabal” working its political witchcraft.
Indeed, the appointment of Jeremiah most certainly wasn’t because he was an expert in Family Law or a champion for poverty-stricken, destitute Rhode Islanders with significant family crises. It was a political appointment that would make Machiavelli shudder. Jeremiah was brash, harsh, mouthy, ill-mannered, and bad-tempered.
A brute at his core, Judge Jeremiah S. Jeremiah frequently bullied the children, parents, and adolescents that appeared in his courtroom on the fifth floor of the J. Joseph Garrahy Judicial Complex, and one was often left bewildered as to why a loud man with such a poor temperament was allowed to pass judgment on vulnerable Rhode Islanders and make decisions significantly disrupting their lives when he could barely contain his fury, impatience, and unhidden disdain for the caseload on his ever-growing docket.
Sure, Jeremiah needed the advice and consent of the Rhode Island Senate for his judicial confirmation, but Jerry had been playing the game long enough to be confirmed without a second look by a single senator especially at that time in that Rhode Island.
Jeremiah S. Jeremiah’s judicial career was rife with corruption and tolerance of abuse and negligence. He routinely phoned up journalists and screamed in his faux, worked-up baritone voice to “kill the story” whenever someone dared report on a critical aspect of the Rhode Island Family Court.
But there was a gentler side to Judge Jeremiah. Especially when he was showered with gifts, praise, and good food. These offerings mostly came from out-of-state congregate care providers looking to court Judge Jeremiah and then-DCYF Director Jay Lindgren to capitalize on Rhode Island’s lack of housing for all of the children and adolescents that DCYF had been removing from family homes at an unprecedented level with the lowest rate of social workers per capita and one of the highest caseload ratios in the United States.
These for-profit “treatment facilities” and “hospitals” provided Judge Jeremiah and Jay Lindgren an overview of their clinical offerings with luxury dining, golf weekends, sight seeing, and five star hotel stays. After their hard work on behalf of the State they were allegedly meant to be representing, Jeremiah and Lindgren had significant leisurely time with the “hospital” executives and only at the conclusion of these envious occasions did Jeremiah and Lindgren put pen to paper and commit a certain number of Rhode Island children to each for-profit, out-of-state treatment facility.
Rhode Island had a deficit of these newly popular “residential treatment centers” such as Manatee Palms for adolescents with special behavioral needs. No need to worry, they said. These corporations, would look after the kids under Jeremiah’s custody as a judicial officer of the Family Court. These caring people with a knack for providing loving service to otherwise unloved kids would provide that service.
I’m trying to picture how these discussions would ensue if I was present “But wait. Rhode Island never had locked buildings where people couldn’t leave unless they were imprisoned or profoundly mentally ill.” Don’t worry about that, they would say, that’s just for security. So the kids don’t leave. So we can take care of them. Whatever that means.
“And as for our treatment plans? Doesn’t matter if the kid hasn’t been there before, has no family there, and if there is an estimated end of treatment date — that’s the point. The longer these kids stay as “patients” because they are “seriously mentally ill” (read: in the night-to- night program for too long, too old to be fostered or adopted in Rhode Island’s too few foster homes, and chose to act out because an admission to pediatric neuropsychiatric hospitals Bradley Hospital and Butler Hospital would ensure a temporary safe placement with healthy food, education, and caring nurses and floor staff for at least a few weeks) — the bigger the profits. That’s the point. It’s a corporation. It’s not a nonprofit. They report to the shareholders and that’s it — as long as money is being made by the people who are investing, that’s all that matters.”
Call me insane, but this is how corporations work. And sure, you can say that the children or adolescents can complain about service delivery, but if you’re prohibited from writing letters or calls, or on the rare chance that you do have a phone call with someone you desperately shout, “Please, please get me out of here, I am being tortured by…” the kind clinical staff will simply disconnect the line, claim the patient was having a breakdown and they are now in the quiet room (i.e. naked and locked in a windowless, dark room with no ventilation) and have been given an intramuscular injection of thorazine in the buttocks. Bingo. The profit is kept. The patient is silent. All is well.
And as with any corporation, the bottom line mattered the most. Jeremiah and Lindgren never visited the facilities once the youth were admitted to facilities located in places such as Florida, Texas, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania. All Jerry knew was that he had wonderful opportunities to travel, stay at fancy hotels, and be lavished with praise for his “work” on behalf of Rhode Island’s children and families. That meant these facilities were “state of the art” and “the best in the nation.”
No, Jerry. They were profit-making enterprises. They didn’t show you how they treated the kids, they showed you a good time so you would get kids who were fighting poor conditions out of Rhode Island and into a locked facility where they can’t leave, call the police when they are hurt, send a letter, contact a lawyer, or their DCYF social worker. That’s why they treated you to first class flights, Michelin-starred dinners, glossy brochures, spa days, and golf. They don’t treat the kids that way.
Who knows, maybe the senility hit him earlier than the doctors thought.
The only plausible explanation is that these tools of typical business deal-making were employed in an effort to appeal to Jeremiah, the chief decision-maker about where these children and adolescents with allegedly significant behavioral disorders would be placed (as opposed to a foster home or group home in Rhode Island).
Even more damningly, it almost acts as a preemptive act of penance to a State leader about why their particular for-profit, understaffed, underfunded, ill-equipped facilities that had far too many patients were the best possible options when considering where Rhode Island’s children and adolescents would be placed. Convincing the Chief Judge of a Family Court of a State that removes children from their homes and families at a rate higher than the national average (and Rhode Island’s rates have been higher since nationwide statistics started to be recorded) to pay hundreds of dollars per day per child to stay at their hell-like facility would be hard work, wouldn’t it?
Well, spa day, golf rounds, and Michelin-starred dining or not, Judge Jeremiah did take hundreds of kids and send them hundreds of miles away from their families and friends. These were no longer kids. They were commodities. They were used as a statistic in an algorithm to calculate whether or not their “treatment needs” would continue to produce a profit. These so-called “patients” were now overseen not by caring individuals that provided reports to parents — the reports were only to stockholders. There was literally no motivation to indicate that a patient was progressing or whether he or she was improving or not — because empty beds mean lower profits, and lower profits mean angry shareholders. The kids aren’t alright — that’s the line they took for each and every one of them because every bed equals a steady profit. A bonus for the nursing management and the mid-level management. Hell, maybe something for the frontline staff at Christmas too. And that’s the way it was going to stay because, apparently, goddamnit, over the cold dead bodies of the CEOs of these corporations would an adolescent be discharged from their “hospital” even if they showed any sign of improvement if it indicated any loss of a penny of potential profit.
And Judge Jeremiah and Jay Lindgren fell for the perpetual capitalist child care cycle. Cash for everyone. Well, until they turn 18. But that doesn’t matter, because there will always be dysfunctional families. More kids will arrive at the doorsteps of these endless cash cows. And even if a child or adolescent doesn’t necessitate the top tier of treatment, there will always be a psychologist or psychiatrist compensated by the Court to say otherwise. And the cycle continues.
Jerry didn’t totally escape scrutiny before his death in 2015. After serving for decades at the helm of the Family Court, he was censured by the Rhode Island Supreme Court, became the subject of multiple federal and state misconduct allegations (particularly to the truancy court program which launched a major U.S. Department of Justice investigation), and had several decisions overturned by the Rhode Island Supreme Court in quick succession. This occurred after he reportedly began suffering from senility on and off the bench until his forced retirement in 2010.
So when Judge Jeremiah sent me to Florida, it wasn’t because Manatee Palms offered some type of specialized treatment or miracle drug that was offered only at their facility in Florida’s Gulf Coast, it was because I was challenging him and his team in the Family Court, as well as the DCYF and its leadership. And PSI probably sent him on a tour of some of their facilities and threw in some or more of the aforementioned perks.
Remember the quote of Dr. Jeffrey Liebman of the Harvard Kennedy School? “DCYF is the most messed-up agency I’ve ever encountered.” If you didn’t agree with him earlier, or you still thought the DMV had a fighting chance, what are your thoughts now?
When I began to acquire significant media attention in mid-to-late 2003, exile was the only option, and it went without saying that at places like Boys Town Intensive Residential Treatment Center and Manatee Palms, one was not allowed to go to school, apply to college, speak to a lawyer, contact the clergy, file a complaint or motion with any court, or report abuse or negligence to the police. Which is exactly where Jeremiah wanted me to be. And because the State, at the direction of Jeremiah and Jay Lindgren, was paying $300-$500 per day for me to stay hundreds of miles from Rhode Island in their locked purgatory, those CEOs and clinical managers were willing to do whatever they were asked or even instructed — lawful or not.
Given his past association with a governor who showed the same lack of respect for the law, Jeremiah’s constant acts of condoning state and federal laws and regulations are not surprising. Unfortunately, Jeremiah and his team were not the most ethical of people. This goes without saying based on the fact that he served as Executive Counsel to a Governor who was later convicted of serious crimes. DiPrete and Jeremiah were best friends for decades. Jerry’s loyalty was rewarded with a high-paying lifetime appointment to the Rhode Island Judiciary. To argue that one failed to benefit from the other’s crimes, however slight, is tantamount to insinuating that Tom Brady would have won 5+ Super Bowls for the Patriots without any receivers or offensive backfield members. When he ascended to the Chief Judgeship of the Rhode Island Family Court, Jeremiah was just the referee on the field when the local high school teams came out to play, and he fixed every call, had a cut from every bet, and knew how to eject and silence anyone who dared question his call or judgment. You could even ask for an instant replay and that would be enough to warrant a 10 year ban. He was the judge, jury, and executioner. Jerry loved his fiefdom But it damaged the lives of generations of Rhode Islanders.
We’ll get more to my overall experience with Jerry and friends later, but let’s get back to Florida.
I suppose the reason I keep circling the runway on the Florida issue is simply because of how goddamn awful it was there, in that pit. I have intentionally tried to forget most of it, but let’s talk about what I do remember. It’s difficult to talk about this, but here we go.
Hope, the painting on the cover of Dreading and Hoping All by Nicholas Alahverdian, is entitled ‘Hope’ by George Frederic Watts, and was completed in 1886. The painting shows a lone blindfolded woman sitting on a globe, playing a harp that has only a single string remaining. The background features a single star.
As early as the 1640s, an image of an anchor and the word “hope” were found on the Seal of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, and the Seal’s words and emblems were likely inspired by the biblical phrase “hope we have as an anchor of the soul,” found in Hebrews, Verse 6:18-19. The anchor remains on the Flag and Seal of the State, as does the word “Hope” which is also the State’s motto.
The two full verses, which have special meaning for Mr. Alahverdian are: “That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil.”
With hope as our anchor, we can accomplish all things. Survival, proof of our soul’s desire to burst forth with life, must be inextricably linked to hope if we are to subsist in the beauty and melancholic existence on this earth.