“10 Questions” with Barbie Sweeney, Residential Coordinator, Domestic Violence Program

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and it was our honor to interview Barbara Sweeney, the City of Alexandria Residential Coordinator of the Domestic Violence Program. Barbie, as we call her, runs the city’s domestic violence shelter and does so much more. Did you happen to walk through Market Square any evening this month? It’s awash in purple to bring attention to this most important cause.

Barbie talks about how COVID-19 has impacted domestic abuse, what signs to watch for, how to help, and so much more in our video and our “5 More Questions” follow-on story.

Alexandria’s HEARD: Jane Collins Brings Art to the Marginalized

You saw the video of our executive director, Jane Collins, in the hot seat with Susan Fleischman of The Zebra admitting to her love of Ben & Jerry’s, Law & Order: SVU and how badly she needs a nap on The Zebra’s Facebook Live! show. All of the guests who Jane grilled with her “10 Questions” show got their revenge!

Oh, and Jane also talked about Heard of course, and how she will help you start a similar program in your community. Just five steps, and Jane will guide you along the way.

Didn’t see it? Our friends at The Zebra followed up with this cute print story, written by Orrin Konheim.


Jane Collins of Heard (and Z-TV LIVE) to Speak at Tom Tom Foundation Summit

We love The Zebra! They are so good to us!

Alexandria, VA – Jane Collins, founder and executive director of the local nonprofit Heard, and frequent host of The Zebra’s Z-TV LIVE, will speak at the Tom Tom Foundation’s virtual summit, Cities Rising, on October 8. The event had been slated for spring 2020 before the pandemic shut it down, and it’s been reinvented as a seven-week virtual summit. Read the rest of the story here.

Update: Listen to Jane share the value of the arts in healing a community, and how she can help you start a similar organization:



by Keith Parker II

Heard/Arlington County Detention Center/OAR writing contest, August 2020

In a place were everything moving at the speed of sound and light, a place were it’s even crazier at night, a place were im stuck between wrong and right at a fork in the road were there telling me go left but I wanna go right.

A place were it’s never silince were it’s hard to find balance. A place were they need more science. A place were thoughts of voilence and were suicidal thoughts are making more progress. A place were yar fighting demons and yar own (self).

Yet I still dont know who’s won a place were im not at bat and it’s not safe to bet. A place were the devil congregate. A place were a docter cant operate a place were i been stuck since a teenager from my parents mistakes and all life has put on my plate. It’s not too late, still can be saved but no one knows who I am let alone brave enough to brake into this place.

This is my cry for help from a psychotic brake down! If you havn’t figured who I am by now I’ll call my self  the brain from distorted eyes i’v seen me raped mentally by society from drugs I let him put inside of me. People I let get the best of me and things I wont let go from inside from me! But no one knows this side of me physicaly im healthy mentally unhealthy unstable maybe I shared to much.

Im finally able to say im scared fer once but nobody’s here to help us. What happens when being tough dosn’t work anymore. Will they call us weak all because I was afraid to speak im fighting a disorder by poker and multple personaltys and it’s killing me softly as you read (signed the Brain)

My name is Keith Alan Parker II. I wrote this non fiction poem on May 18 2020. The month of mentell health awerness! We all suffer from some type of mentell unhealthyness but some manage it different. I say this to say we should all pay close attention to people crys for help family friends and even inmates thank you for listning to my poem!

Black or White

Black or White

by Walter D. Kissee

Heard/Arlington County Detention Center/OAR writing contest, August 2020

It’s bigger than black or white

Its a problem with the hole world.

Cant go to deep because they might get me a long road to healing.

Is our America at a point of reckoning.

The fight for Black Lives Matter Covid-19

what happen to that the fight for racial justice,

while we have police burtaitily

all of Americains from the death of George Floyd has sparked protestesting

while in police custody and with the many others we have lost this year and years befor.

A lot 21-21 Savage.

2020 has been a hellai of year

A lot of what is going on is Social InJustice which has made it to the top.


Its not hard due to video that are captured for the world to see of the wongful things done where you get a immedite rection.

Frist we need to stop RACISM



We need to change this direction

There is nothing wrong with Change or Being different

2 Chainz said it best Yea Im differents

This brings high alert cause black lives do matter more in the black community

We are a major relfection in America and we are a problem

together we have a slow world history close nothing.

But repeat itself this has been going on decades now

Im facing a decad something I throught would never happen in the land of the free.

A now Im just a son to a bastad child,

antoher Black male lost to the prison system.

Of the Black America just a product of the envermont.

More kids growing up without a father.

Unable to explain how to be a man teach them right from wrong.

At this time its been so long my son explade he dosnt know how to talk to me any more

When I left he was 4.

Now 8.

When I come home if I make it he will be.


The system and systemic justice system has found mondern Day Slaver.

And with being African being our accsiter where in slaved and white suprmacy always profiting George Whasington and Andrew Jackson both notably slave owners who are framed on our money.

The Red and Blue are to Serve and to Protect.

And Im not talking bout the Crip and Bloods

Im talking bout the Biggest Gang in the USA

Who is to protect

when you see the police you run cause you dont want to get attacked or terroized.

Now the non Black Barriey and Being the Public Horrors

Due to the Network and Techonology

Finally the world is standing with us.

Black Lives Matter.