Kelly Clarkson hosted the 2018 Billboard Music Awards and she opened the show with a tearful tribute to the victims of the Santa Fe school shooting.
The Voice judge and proud Texan began the night's festivities with a respectful nod to the horrific events that happened over the weekend in her home state. On Friday, a gunman killed 10 people at Santa Fe high school in Texas. Reports confirm that eight students and two teachers were among those lost in the tragedy with another 13 people wounded after an active shooter opened fire during the early morning hours. The suspect was armed with a shotgun and a.38 caliber pistol. He was taken into police custody shortly after the shooting began, admitting to police that he entered the school with the intention to kill his fellow students.
The tragedy marks the 22nd school shooting this year in the United States and has been a particularly controversial incident in Texas, a state known for its pro-gun stance.
Clarkson began her speech by acknowledging the terrible events that happened before getting choked up."I'm a Texas girl, and my home state has had so much heartbreak over this past year. And once again, y'all, we're grieving for more kids that have died for just an absolute no reason at all," she told the crowd, visibly struggling to speak through tears.
Clarkson went on to reveal that producers of the show wanted her to call for a moment of silence in her speech, to honor the victims, but instead, she urged people to take part in a "moment of change."
"I'm so sick of 'moment of silence,'" she said. "It's not working. 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."
The singer and mother of four described how horrified she would be if her own children were ever involved in an incident like the one that happened at Santa Fe high school. She doubled down, saying that parents shouldn't have to fear for their children's lives every time they send them off to school before wrapping up her speech calling for anyone watching the show to go out into their communities and take action.
Though she didn't specify what kind of action that might be, we can only hope this latest tragedy spurs lawmakers to take a closer look at our country's gun laws.