"I am the mother of Charles Hall. The man who went on a killing spree last year in May. You might have heard about him."
"How did your son come to commit such a horrible act of violence?"
"He was a user. He was addicted to hard drugs and the drugs got the best of him. Charles was living with me at my home. I tried my best to get him off of drugs and to get him the help he needed. Charles woke up one morning, and left my house without saying anything. I heard about what he had done later that day. My heart has never felt such pain the way it felt that day."
"How are you feeling now?"
"A mother's love for her child..."
"Ma'am, I can I tell you something?"
"You are one of the most beautiful women I have ever met."
The man standing behind her is her other son. He told me that he just got out of jail and after learning about what his brother did last year, he made a pledge to care for his mother for the rest of her life. He states that he is not affiliated with any gangs, and that his tattoos are representative of his life experiences. He has the words, 'know' and 'love' underneath his eyes.
"Is there anything beautiful in homelessness?"
Velma lives on the East Side of San Antonio. She's from Louisiana, but she has been living in San Antonio for the past 10 years. When she's not at church, you may find her rollerblading or organizing her yellow basket on Hackberry Street. "When I have free time, I like to keep my belongs in order. I'm a perfectionist," she says.
Velma looks forward to having her own garden. If you see her around, feel free to say hello.
"We started a group called 3 Slightly Chubby Latinas We're here to help create a positive body image movement in San Antonio."
"Why do you want to help people with their body image?"
"We see kids struggle everyday with their body image especially at the high school level. We are here for everyone. Life is difficult enough and we all have the same struggles. It's ok to be happy with exactly how you look. If you want to reach a certain look that's ok too. Whatever it is that makes you feel good, just be that. We are here for our community."
It was a lot of fun chatting with the 3 Slightly Chubby Latinas. I look forward to attending one of their meet ups soon! For more information, feel free to send them a message via Facebook.
"One of the most defining experiences of my life was during Hurricane Katrina. My friend and I were in the living room when the water started rushing in. The water came so fast through the front door that it got to the level of our knees within minutes. We're thankful to be alive. Some people in the neighborhood didn't make it."
"There used to be a movie theater right here on Houston Street. I'll never forget it because I had my first date there. I was 15 years old, and the girl I took out was 18. She was into smoking pot, but I never tried it before. She insisted that I take a couple of hits. Man I got so high I ended up spending all of my money that night. Hell, I think she took advantage of me."