Queer Eye’s culture guru Karamo Brown has given a heart-wrenching speech about last month’s school shooting in Parkland and his own time at the high school.
Brown, who has soared to fame as the Queer Eye reboot’s culture expert, attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in 1999.
Speaking at HRC’s Spring Equality Convention, Brown told about seeing his own school at the centre of the tragedy, telling the crowd how it felt both as a former student and a parent.
He said: “When I saw on the news a few weeks back that my alma mater was being called the site of the world’s deadliest school massacre, you all cannot imagine how much my heart broke.
“To see that school, my high school, on television, and students be running out of the same hallways that I used to walk around gleefully broke my heart.”
Brown then used his platform to join the growing group of voices calling for stricter gun control laws.
“You know, not only as an alum, but also as a parent now, thinking about those precious lives that were lost, it means it’s time for change. Enough is enough.”
Brown went on to talk about one of his former classmates, Aaron Feis, who was one of the 17 people killed in the shooting on February 14.
Feis, who worked at Stoneman Douglas as an assistant football coach and security guard at the Florida school, was reportedly killed as he shielded students from alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz.
“I rooted for [Feis] when he played football, and cheered him on as we graduated on the same day, same year,” Brown said, paying tribute to his former classmate.
“[Feis] wanted to give back to the students what he and I had received from our teachers, which was unconditional love, a relentless encouragement to be fearless in your passions and a clear guidance on how to achieve your dreams.”
The father of two then spoke earnestly about his own children, who he discovered ten years after his eldest son’s birth.
“Anytime someone gets shot, whether it’s an unarmed African American male, or whether it’s a school shooting, my sons immediately come to my mind,” the culture expert said.
“I look at these kids and I see my own kids, and I can’t help but think about the parents who are grieving for their children that are lost, because no parent should ever outlive their child. It just shouldn’t happen.
“So the fact that this happened at my high school, and the students said, ‘Enough is enough, and we’re going to step up and make sure that this never happens again’… it just makes me so proud.”
The 37-year-old then highlighted the importance of celebrities backing social movements and how those in the public eye can help change opinions.
“Celebrities have a platform, and people listen to them. And there’s a lot of people that we are able to touch, who aren’t watching activists and aren’t watching the news, that are watching what celebrities say.
“I also know that it’s opening up minds and hearts of people who might have been closed off before.
“Now, because they’ve heard that, they’re willing to say, ‘You know what? Let me reconsider and look at this issue a little differently.’”
Watch Karamo Brown’s full speech below