While the CMT Music Awards will be a night of fun and celebration of country music’s greatest, host Kelsea Ballerini made it clear that before they got to that, the community wanted to pay tribute to the lives lost and forever changed at the March 27th shooting at Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee. “Three 9 year olds, Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, William Kinney, along with Katherine Koonce, Cynthia Peak and Mike Hill walked into the Covenant School and didn’t walk out. The community of sorrow over this and the 130 mass shootings in the US this year alone stretches from coast to coast,” Kelsea began, while wearing a black blazer and raw emotion on her face. “I waned to personally stand up here and share this moment because on August 21, 2008, I watched Ryan McDonald, my 15-year-old classmate at Central High School, lose his life to a gun in our cafeteria.”
— DarleneRaye (@DarleneRaye13) April 3, 2023
Kelsea continued, holding back tears, “Tonight’s broadcast is dedicated to the ever-growing list of families, friends, survivors, witnesses and responders whose lives continue to forever be changed by gun violence.”
“I pray deeply that the closeness and the community that we feel through the next few hours of music can turn into action, like real action, that moves us forward together to create change for the safety of our kids and our loved ones,” she concluded.
Prior to the show on the red carpet, many stars were seen wearing black ribbons to show support for the Covenant School, and CMT made note that they were supporting the Sandy Hook Promise, which is aimed at protecting children from gun violence and preventing tragedies before they happen.
The US was, once again, rocked with an elementary school shooting in the morning hours of March 27th when a heavily armed gunwoman attacked Covenant School in Nashville. Three 9-year-olds lost their lives, along with three brave teachers. Many members of the country community reacted to the tragedy on social media, sharing their anger at lawmakers for their lack of reaction to the hundreds of shootings that occur in schools across America year after year.
— CMT (@CMT) April 3, 2023
“I’m heartbroken I’m triggered I’m angry and I’m terrified for the loss we continue to have in this country due to guns. three f**king kids. what are we doing,” Kelsea wrote at the time. Sheryl Crow shared her heartbreak on Twitter, writing, “No words… The Covenant School. Our children deserve better. Praying for all affected. Tragic America.” She went on to respond to Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackurn’s ‘Thoughts and Prayers,’ writing, “If you are ready to assist, please pass sensible gun laws so that the children of Tennessee and America at large might attend school without risk of being gunned down.”