Deborah Blalock was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts in 1959. When she was two years old, her family moved to James Island. She was a student at Nativity School and Bishop England High School and graduated from the College of Charleston majoring in English. Also, she trained as a hand engraver, working at Litaker's and in her father's business, Shogry's Gold Showcase. Years later, she decided to pursue a new career and attended The Citadel earning a master's degree in counseling. She completed her practicum at New Directions, a program of the Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center (CDMHC) and was offered employment immediately after. In 2004, she became the center director. In the interview, Blalock describes CDMHC's daily operations, the partnership with other community organizations, and how services have evolved over the years. She provides a detailed account of the response to the Sofa Super Store fire and the creation of the First Responders Support Team. Finally, she remembers the aftermath of the Mother Emanuel's tragic shooting and tells about the efforts to provide support to the families of the victims since then. At the time of the interview, the families were preparing for the trial of the killer, Dylann Roof.
Feidin del Rosario Santana was born in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic in 1991. He moved with his family to New Jersey, NY when he was twelve years old. After high school graduation at the age of nineteen, he returned to his country to train at a baseball academy in rural San Pedro. He explains that for him this was a "life-changing experience" but after a physical injury, he had to quit and return to the USA where he struggled to adjust. Later, he went back to Punta Cana to work in the tourist industry. There he met the mother of his child and trained as a barber. A job opportunity in a barbershop brought him to North Charleston in 2013. On his way to work on the morning of Saturday, April 4th, 2015 Santana recorded the killing Walter Scott by North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager. Realizing the magnitude of the event he had witnessed, he feared for his safety but decided to hand over the video to the Scott family prompting the arrest of Slager. Santana reflects about the following months, including dealing with the press and media outlets, being a witness in the trial, and becoming the target of hateful messages.