As Billboard Music Award host Kelly Clarkson opened the show Sunday night, she already had tears in her eyes.
“Before we start tonight’s show, there’s something I’d like — this is going to be so hard,” the pop star said, her voice shaking. “There’s something I’d like to say about the tragedy Friday at Santa Fe High School.”
She took a long pause and struggled to continue. “I’m so sorry. I’m a Texas girl, and my home state has had so much heartbreak over the past year.”
Clarkson, a Fort Worth native, made a call for action to stop gun violence in the wake of yet another school shooting, this one at a school near Houston:
Once again, y’all, we’re grieving for more kids that have died for just an absolute no reason at all. And tonight they wanted me to say that — obviously we want to pray for all the victims, we want to pray for their families. But they also wanted me to do a moment of silence. And I’m so sick of moment of silence. It’s not working. Like, obviously.
So why don’t we not do a moment of silence? Why don’t we do a moment of action? Why don’t we do a moment of change? Why don’t we change what’s happening? Because it’s horrible. And mamas and daddies should be able to send their kids to school, to church, to movie theaters, to clubs — you should be able to live your life without that kind of fear.
So we need to do better. We need to do better as people. We’re failing our children, we’re failing the communities, we’re failing their families.
I can’t imagine — I have four children, I cannot imagine getting that phone call or that knock on the door. So instead of a moment of silence, I want to respect them and honor them with tonight, y’all. In your community where you live, your friends, everybody. Let’s have a moment of action. Let’s have a moment of change.