Like the nation and the world, I am horrified by the events on June 17th at the AME church on Calhoun street in Charleston. I weep for the loss of life. I am shocked it happened in such a sacred place. I am sad that such a young person could be filled with such hate. I also am so proud of the grace our community has shown as the events have rapidly unfolded. It has not even been forty-eight hours since this tragedy has unfolded, yet people of all walks in our community have come together in unity. Charleston has long been at the top of lists giving accolades for being polite and friendly. Visitors I am sure wonder if all the yes ma’ams and sirs, the smiles and door holding are sincere or a show we put on for tourists. that politeness and friendliness is just an outward sign, the surface of what underlies our community and it’s values. The true measure of a person is not how they act in happy situations, but how they conduct themselves in adversity and the same is true of a community. We are far from perfect. We have members of our community who do not work for the good of all, but I would argue they are few and far between. In Hurricane Hugo, and other weather disasters, wrongful shootings, animal cruelty, no matter what the adversity the majority in our community comes together to lift each other up. We respond to hate with love. We take on our problems with hope, encouragement and compassion. Maybe it has something to do with being the “Holy City”, we practically have a place of worship on every corner, and that includes all faiths. The church I have posted above has Grace as it’s name. It is where I was confirmed in my faith. Immediately behind it is another church. Several blocks away there are synagogues and many other churches of many other denominations, our city has a long standing history of supporting America’s freedom to worship, one of our country’s founding pillars. Our southern charm is deeper than our friendly hospitality. Our community responds in action that echo our words of welcome and our expressions of love. Charleston is an example of grace in a world that lately seems to have grown a bit dark. Charleston’s Grace is the loving people who call her home.