In the almost four months since a devastating school shooting in Parkland, Florida, left 17 people dead, the conversation surrounding school shootings and gun violence has shifted dramatically. March for Our Lives has seen thousands of students take to the streets in multiple protests, state legislatures have passed new gun-control measures, and the National Rifle Association has been put back on its heels. And to top it all off (or sum it all up): late-night host Jimmy Fallon delivered a surprise commencement address to this year’s graduates of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where the shooting took place.
Fallon, who isn’t the best at taking much seriously, mixed humor and heart as he praised the student-led activists who have kept the issue of gun violence at the forefront of American politics. In true Fallon fashion, though, The Tonight Show host first took a dig at himself.
“When you think of commencement speakers, you think of people who are inspirational, people who are eloquent, people who’ve changed the world. When you think of high school students, you think of people who are immature, slightly awkward, still learning to be an adult. Welcome to ‘Opposite Day.'”
Fallon noted that while the shooting was tragic, the activism that followed was truly inspiring. He talked about how he and his wife took their daughters to the March for Our Lives in Washington DC “because we wanted them to see what hope and light looks like.”
“You took something horrific, and instead of letting it stop you, you started a movement,” he said. “Not just here in Florida, not just here in America, but throughout the whole world. The whole world has heard your voice. And that was you making a choice.”
You can watch the rest of Fallon’s speech below: