By Melissa Boughton, June 21, 2015, published in The Post and Courier.

“Charleston strong” wasn’t just a phrase Sunday night.

The city has been praised for its response to a shooting that left nine dead Wednesday night in Emanuel AME Church, but a walk Sunday night across the Arthur Ravenel Bridge put residents’ solidarity into perspective.

Fourteen-year-old Talana Green, of Charleston, documents the massive crowd streaming from E. Bay Street onto the bridge toward Mount Pleasant. “It’s amazing,” Green said.

Police estimated that 10,000 to 15,000 people gathered for the Bridge to Peace Unity Chain, an event held to promote unity and peace.

Khalil Santos smiled as one of his sons peered at the crowd from his shoulders.

“I want my kids to understand what this represents,” he said. “I want them to understand that hate is not the way to live. I want them to have brighter futures and I want them to see the unity, no matter race or color. We are still united.”

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