“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.

Psychosomatic

Psychosomatic

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.

STOP KILLING US

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

STOP SOCIAL INJUSTICE

STOP KILLING US

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.

24.

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.

Beyond These Walls

Beyond These Walls

by VE

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

Beyond these walls lies love that envigerates the soul and peace that surpasses all understanding.

Second chances to the once broken and incarcerated men an opportunity at redemption,

another chance to choose right from wrong in the midst of temptation

desperately urning for instant gratification.

Beyond these walls millions of people are held captive,

metaphorically they are prisoners like us but yet free without these walls.

Though we are trapped physically they are prisoners

psychologically, emotionally and spiritually to

circumstances, society’s standards, family expectations, relationships that clearly states red flags DNR, do not resistate, greed, narsacism, materialistic objects.

The need to out do others, living above their means to keep up the Joneses,

spending money that they haven’t yet earned,

perpetually cycling this vicious cycle of accumulating debt.

Addition to social media likes masking pain entertwined with pleasure and reciprocity,

fear to take risks, working jobs that they are overworked under appreciated and underpaid.

Systematically we are programed to spend one third of our lives working for different companies investing in acquiring capital gain for the companies,

thus we are restricted or time to work on creating our own businesses or companies to gain fanancial freedom.

Give them just enough to survive, but not enough to prosper,

so they’d live paycheck to paycheck and acrude debt.

So theoretically were all doing time

weather it be psycially, pschologically, emotionally or spiritually.

Beyond these walls comparison is the thief of joy and the cousin to misery.

Beyond these walls achieving anything you want is 99% intentional and 1% mythology.

The greatest moment of achieving success most would think it is the actual moment of attaining success

but in all actuality the greatest moment is when we decide.

Every Fortune 500 company or wealthy individual all began with an idea which ultimately transmutated to financial independence.

Beyond these walls if you don’t plan appropriately your asking for a disaster.

Be willing to allow changes to occur that are not what you invisioned your exact finish to look like.

Beyond these walls you don’t have to get it perfect, you just have to get it started.

Beyond these walls choose the habits of successful people if you want to be successful and choose the habits of happy people if you want to be happy.

The only things that satisfies the soul are gratitude and love.

Beyond these walls your destiny awaits you, the impossible is obselite,

their are 24 hours in a day which equals 86,400 seconds,

a week equates 168 hours the eqivilant of 604,800 seconds,

one month equals 2,419,200 seconds and

31,536,000 seconds in a year

but it all starts from within these walls.

Make every second count and what we do with it within these walls

will determine what and whom we become beyond these walls

Drawing by Herman McDonald, inspired by VE’s poem “Beyond These Walls”

Clean, Laugh, and Pray

Clean, Laugh, and Pray

by Aaron Bunche

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

I am convinced, with a zeal of a crusader, that I’m in the safest place, a twelve by four cell. I’m a recovering addict addicted to Fox News, and I fear knowone but God. For I have with me the whole armor for germs. I have on my gloves of laytex, my mask which is the preparation for the virus, and a bar of soap and water which is sharper than any two-edge sword; may you find yours today.

I have my own swag, I wear nothing but clean. If you want what I got on then you gotta pick it up at the showers. I’m a year sober from narcotics but I picked up a mean habit of washing my hands. I told the nurse my issue, she showed me tough love, she said “you’ll live.”

My hobbies are mopping my cell and scrubbing down my toilet and sink, but on the seventh day I rest. I can say then that my quarters were pleasing in my sight.

For sport I watch Trump reflect and dodge questions during briefings; if you say he won’t make the championship then you decieve yourself and reality may have passed you by.

On my shelf I keep many books. I have literature on the respiratory system to pass the time. I read articiles about how the Caronavirus swept Rome. I practice distance-learning, I stand exactly six feet away from the television as I watch the forcast’s temperatures decline like our stock market.

I look out not only for my own interests, but also for the interests of my mother. She would always tell me “submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee. I’ll tell her “commit to using hand sanitizer, resist touching your face and you will live.” For this is the victory that will overcome the virus—stay home.

Also, bless those who are not cautious like you, and pray for those who spitefully go out and about. What profit is it to man if he goes out to gain income, and looses his health and dies.

I have no vociferous rebellion to the state law anymore. When I leave this safe place, I press on towards the next safe haven, my home. Once I make it there I can truly say, I have fought the good fight, I am home and safe, I have kept the faith.

I Am

I Am

by Derrick Barnes

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

I am a colorful bowl of experiences and

A mosh pit of circumstances

A cosmic collission of parents and a micro drop

Of seemen defined

I feel no one should be able to judge me because

I’ve walked alone through time

I have been shown that remnants of ancestors

Coated the pedals of eternity on this earthly

Plane

My existential knowledge has many of those

Who don’t understand me thinking I’m completely

Insane

But I would venture that none would be willing

To carry the water of my life’s pain

I was never alone in the realm of physical

Space

But my deamons were real and shielded me from

God’s grace

I am a firing of synapses that have awaken

Electrons trapped in my mind

A simple realization of abandonment in hopes

Of the sublime

I’m a singular organism bound by my environmental

Conditions

Filtered by worldly renditions guided by

DNA preminition

My so called memory of ideals that are

Encased in predetermined events as destiny

Had molded me

I am a zygote by identity, an embryo by

Determination, a fetus by choice, a boy

By birth, and a prisoner by a mistake

But yet I am still Human