Statement from Senior Deputy Majority Leader Nicholas J. Narducci Jr. Regarding the Fire at 108 Langdon Street

Statement from Senior Deputy Majority Leader Nicholas J. Narducci Jr. Regarding the Fire at 108 Langdon Street

On Saturday, July 4, 2020, a two family home located at 108 Langdon Street caught on fire and was damaged beyond repair. Although the fire is still under investigation there is strong evidence to believe that an illegal firework may have landed on the house causing it to burn.
The two families have been placed in temporary housing and luckily no one was hurt. I want to personally thank the Providence Fire Department for their quick action, and ensuring the safety of the neighboring houses, and residents. Their actions speak volumes to the professionalism of our amazing men and women of the Providence Fire Department.
Thank you to all involved. It’s devastating when anyone loses a home, even more so when it may have been done so because of illegal behavior. If the Fire Marshal does declare that it was an illegal firework I will work with the Police Department and area neighbors to see if they have any video footage from their security cameras from that night.
Nicholas J. Narducci Jr., Senior Deputy Majority Leader
Providence City Council
Councilman – Ward 4
Statement from Senior Deputy Majority Leader Nicholas J. Narducci Jr. Regarding the Fire at 108 Langdon Street

Statement from Senior Deputy Majority Leader Nicholas J. Narducci Jr. Regarding the Providence Police Department

I fully understand that we are living in extraordinary times; I don’t believe any person should be forced to the ground and have a knee held to their neck for eight minutes and forty-six seconds. That’s incorrigible, and if that happened here in Providence, I would be joining the chorus of outraged voices. I too want justice for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the countless other lives that have been lost at the hands of police brutality.

That said, I firmly believe that Providence has one of the best Police Departments in the country, and our Providence Community Police Relations Act has become a benchmark for other municipalities around the United States. I strongly support proper and continued education and training for our officers, and would like to see a line item put in this year’s budget to achieve that end.

I am sure that there are members of our police force that have and will abuse their power, but I know that Chief Hugh Clements will do everything in his power to root that out whenever or wherever it may happen.

I want Chief Clements and the men and women of the Providence Police Department to know that I am thankful for the exemplary job they have continued to do under immense scrutiny and in a time of such turmoil.

Nicholas J. Narducci Jr., Senior Deputy Majority Leader
Providence City Council
Councilman – Ward 4

City Council’s URRP Committee Approves Renaming the Providence Pedestrian Bridge in Memory of Michael S. Van Leesten

City Council’s URRP Committee Approves Renaming the Providence Pedestrian Bridge in Memory of Michael S. Van Leesten

Providence City Council’s Committee on Urban Redevelopment, Renewal, and Planning Today Voted to Rename the Providence Pedestrian Bridge in Memory of Local Civil Rights Advocate Michael S. Van Leesten

This afternoon Deputy Majority Leader Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11) and Chairwoman of the Council’s Committee on Urban Redevelopment, Renewal, and Planning announced that they have voted to rename the Providence Pedestrian Bridge in memory of Michael S. Van Leesten, who was a long-time resident of Providence and passed away on August 23, 2019, at the age of 80. The Resolution to change the name of the Pedestrian Bridge was sponsored by Council President Sabina Matos, and Co-Sponsored by the Full Council.

“I worked closely with Mr. Van Leesten over the years, and his loss has left a hole in the fabric of our city,” stated Deputy Majority Leader Mary Kay Harris. “I can think of no better way than to honor the memory of a man who built bridges within the community than by renaming the Providence Pedestrian Bridge in memory and in honor of the significant contributions he made to this City and our State.”

Mr. Michael S. Van Leesten was a graduate of Hope High School. After graduation, he served his nation as a communications specialist in the United States Air Force, and upon discharge, he attended Rhode Island College, where he was a star basketball player. After he graduated college in 1965, he became active in the Civil Rights Movement. He participated in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Summer Conference on Community Organizing and Political Education Project (SCLC SCOPE) in Choctaw County, Alabama.

City Council President Sabina Matos (Ward 15) shared, “Mr. Van Leesten was a giant amongst men, and he did so much for our city, state, and nation. I commend my colleague Chairwoman Harris for pushing this forward. When young and old cross that bridge, may it be a reminder of the good that can be done when you do the work like Mr. Van Leesten did.”

At SCLC SCOPE, he, along with six other college students, worked doing community organizing and voter registration in rural Alabama during the height of the Civil Rights struggle. He spoke of his time in the Movement as a “defining moment in my life.” He believed that singular experience made him a better person, a better husband, a better father, and a better community leader.

“I want to thank Chairwoman Harris for bringing this important matter to the committee,” stated Vice-Chairman Nicholas J. Narducci Jr (Ward 4). “I was proud to be a Co-sponsor, along with all my fellow members on the City Council. His life’s work deserves to be remembered and honored.”

Van Leesten served as the Executive Director of Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) of Rhode Island, which he helped found, for more than 15years. He had a successful consulting business, and also served as the Director of Planning and Development for the City of Providence. Additionally, he then went on to be the Director of Public Affairs for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe from 1994 to 2006, eventually returning to the role at the OIC from 2006 until his passing in August of 2019.

He was a board member of numerous organizations, including the Board of Regents, Peerless Precision, and Fleet Bank. He was also awarded honorary doctorate degrees from Roger Williams College, Rhode Island College, and the University of Rhode Island.

Mr. Van Leesten is survived by his former spouses Natalie E. Brown, Andrea G. Van Leesten, and Paula Van Leesteen, and his loving children Jill, Michael, Ayyub, Andrew, Jordan, and Alexis, and his beloved grandchildren Aliza, Aaron, Az-Zubair, and Huria, and his siblings Rashad Munir, David Van Leesten, Lisa Van Leesten, and Dorothy “Dee Dee” Van Lesten, and was predeceased by his brother Karriem Muhammad (ne Hendrik Van Leesten Jr.) and both his beloved parents.

Michael S. Van Leesten was and will continue to be a beloved and admired member of the community, and his energy and smile have been missed by all that knew him. Upon passage from Committee, it will go before the City Council, where it will be voted on by the Full Council. Then it will be sent to Mayor Elorza for his signature.

Statement from Senior Deputy Majority Leader Nicholas J. Narducci Jr. Regarding the Fire at 108 Langdon Street

Statement from Senior Deputy Majority Leader Nicholas J. Narducci Jr. Regarding the Esek Hopkins Middle School

Last evening, the Providence City School Board voted to ask the City Council to rename the Esek Hopkins School.

Before that discussion takes place, I believe that my community in Ward 4 should have a conversation to get their feedback and their desire to rename or not to rename the school. I am working on gathering the facts regarding the history of Esek Hopkins, while some of it is ugly, there may be evidence that he saw the gross misfortune that he was involved with and charted a different path. In addition, I have asked our City Archives to provide me with research on the other founding families of Providence, including the Brown’s.

That said, any change to the name of the school should come from robust community engagement where the school is located. The name also cannot be changed by the State or the School Department. The buildings are owned by the City of Providence.

I look forward to facilitating that conversation in the near future.

Statement from Senior Deputy Majority Leader Nicholas J. Narducci Jr. Regarding the Fire at 108 Langdon Street

Statement from Senior Deputy Majority Leader Nicholas J. Narducci Jr. Regarding the Violence in Providence Last Night

The pain that many in our community are feeling at the senseless death of George Floyd is not only understandable but is yet another reflection of how our Country has failed our neighbors of color.

This past weekend, 100’s gathered to peacefully protest and collectively grieve the loss of Mr. Floyd without incident. What happened last night was nothing more than an orchestrated chaos that put our men and women of the Providence Police Department, and those of neighboring cities and states, in harm’s way.

I believe that we must work together to make change in our Country, but the violence that we witnessed unfold on social media in Providence last night is not the way. Those individuals are not part of the movement for equality, they were agitators meant to do harm for no reason. Destroying our City is not the way to bring about the change that we need.

Together, we can create change in a peaceful manner. I call on all of us to do better and be better. It’s the only path forward.

My thoughts today are with our small business owners who were already suffering, the family of George Floyd whose memory is being tarnished by violence, and for my neighbors who are justifiably scared of what might happen next.

Be strong, be resilient, and let’s work together.

Statement from Senior Deputy Majority Leader Nicholas J. Narducci Jr. Regarding the Fire at 108 Langdon Street

Statement from Senior Deputy Majority Leader Nicholas J. Narducci Jr. Regarding the Omni Providence

It has been brought to my attention that the Omni Providence hotel has decided to drop its health insurance for its employees. It is appalling that a major hotel chain would make this decision during the time of a global pandemic and cause further burden to its employees. In addition, it violates their own contract with the UniteHere Local 26 Union. I would urge the Omni Providence to change this course of action, and not cancel their employee’s much-needed health insurance.

Nicholas J. Narducci Jr., Senior Deputy Majority Leader
Providence City Council
Councilman – Ward 4

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