The students, all wearing "Youth" sweatshirts, emerged from the sides of the stage during Mendes and Khalid's performance to finish off the song. Seventeen victims lost their lives at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, three months before a gunman took the lives of 10 people at Santa Fe High School in Texas on Friday.
Host Kelly Clarkson somberly opened the awards show with an emotional call to action in response to the Santa Fe shooting, holding back tears as she opened up about her heartbreak over her home state of Texas.
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"Tonight they wanted me to say that, obviously we want to pray for all the victims and we want to pray for their families, but they also wanted me to do a moment of silence," Clarkson said, wiping tears from her eyes. "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."
"So, instead of a moment of silence, I want to respect them and honor [the victims]," Clarkson said. "So tonight, in your community, where you live, let's have a moment of action. Let's have a moment of change."
See more on celebs' reactions to the recent shootings in the video below.