Jessica Alba is tired of children suffering from gun violence. At the Teen Choice Awards on Sunday night, she and R&B singer Ne-Yo brought 10 young people onstage, introduced them, and shared their loss. One lost his younger brother. Two others lost their mom. One lost his father, Alton Sterling, whose death sparked outrage and peaceful protests across the country for #BlackLivesMatter. At the end of their presentation, the two celebs inspired young people to spread the hashtag #StopTheViolence to encourage change against gun violence.
“Here with me tonight are a group of brave teenagers who share an unlikely bond that’s hard to comprehend,” said the 35-year-old actress. “They are the brothers, sisters, daughters, and family members of recent victims of gun violence; I’m talking about Aurora, Baton Rogue, Dallas, Minneapolis, Orlando, San Bernardino, Newtown.”
It was an emotionally charged tribute in the middle of an emotional evening that featured celebs encouraging young people to become active citizens; in another heartfelt speech, co-hosts Victoria Justice and John Cena inspired young people to vote.
For a clip of the speech, watch below:
“Tonight we stand together with these teens, united in our call for peace and an end to this violence,” Alba continued. “Now, more than ever, we need to stop, feel and ask what’s going on.”
The call to action closed with Ne-Yo’s performance of “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye.
It’s undeniable that these celebrities aren’t the heroes that go out in their battle gear day after day, putting their lives on the line to protect Americans. They aren’t the people in uniform, nor are they the victims of these personal tragedies. But you also can’t deny that they’re the people who teenagers look up to, who can inspire them to vote or to become active citizens or to give back to their communities. They help the ordinary citizen do extraordinary things, just by being who they are and showcasing humanity. So critics may write off Alba and Ne-Yo’s tribute as a publicity stunt or basic politics, but this isn’t the case. If you need further proof, look at what some have tweeted with the hashtag #StopTheViolence:
top image via People
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