Kelly Clarkson opened the 2018 Billboard Music Awards with a tearful tribute to the Santa Fe, Texas high school shooting, calling for a "moment of change" instead of a "moment of silence."
"Before we start tonight's show, there's something I'd like to say about the tragedy Friday at Santa Fe High School," Clarkson said. "I'm a Texas girl and my home state has had so much heart break over this past year and once again, y'all, we're grieving for more kids that have died for absolutely no reason at all. Tonight, they wanted me... Obviously, we want to pray for the victims and their families, but they also wanted me to do a moment of silence."
She continued, "I'm so sick of moments of silence. It's not working, 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 mommies and daddies should be able to send their children to school, to church, to the movie theaters, to clubs. You should be able to live your life without the fear."
"So we need to do better. People are failing our children," Clarkson continued. "We're failing our communities. We're failing their families."
Clarkson said as a mother, she could not imagine getting a phone call telling her one of her children was killed.
"So instead of a moment of silence, I want to respect them, honor them," she concluded. She called on viewers across the country for a "moment of action" and a "moment of change."
The Billboard Music Awards are taking place just two days after the shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, a city south of Houston. There, eight students and two teachers were killed. The shooter, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, admitted to opening fire in an art class early Friday morning, according to police. The 17-year-old was a student at the high school and was booked on capital murder.
Clarkson's opening speech drew praise from viewers at home.
"Kelly Clarkson had me in tears with her opening message. I was visiting family in Galveston for the weekend and passed through Santa Fe a few hours ago," one person wrote.0comments
"@kelly_clarkson speaking about Santa Fe before the BBMAs brought tears to my eyes. Everything she said was true. we need change and action," another fan wrote.
@kelly_clarkson speaking about santa fe before the bbmas brought tears to my eyes. everything she said was true. we need change and action!!— JM (@JavierrMunoz) May 21, 2018
Photo Credit: NBC