The normally apolitical Jimmy Fallon ditched his usual jokey facade on Aug. 14 to deliver a heart-wrenching monologue on Charlottesville, VA, which left the late-night host — and many of us watching at home — fighting back tears.
Fallon explained that while his show wasn't political, he felt a "responsibility to stand up against intolerance and extremism as a human being" after watching the events unfold on television. "My daughters were in the next room playing, and I'm thinking, 'How can I explain to them that there's so much hatred in this world?' They're 2 years old and 4 years old. They don't know what hate is," Fallon said, choking back tears and adding, "They go to the playground and they have friends of all races and backgrounds, they just play, and they laugh, and they have fun. But as kids grow up, they need people to look up to — to show them what's right and good."
The Tonight Show host then went on to condemn President Donald Trump's handling of the events, noting "the fact that it took the president two days to come out and clearly denounce racists and white supremacists is shameful" and evoking Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman who lost her life when a car drove into a crowd of protesters, saying that she "died standing up for what's right."
In closing his monologue, Fallon drove home the fact that the White House's actions were shameful, but the American people now have a responsibility to take action where our president didn't. "We all need to stand against what is wrong, acknowledge that racism exists, and stand up for what is right and civil and kind," he said, his voice once again breaking, "And to show the next generation that we haven't forgotten how hard people have fought for human rights, we cannot do this. We can't go backward."
Watch the full, powerful clip from The Tonight Show above, after which, we recommend hugging everyone in your general vicinity and remembering that we have the power to change things in this country — so long as we remember to stand up for what's right.