Kayla Kearney is a senior at Maria Carrillo High School in Santa Rosa, California. She's also a lesbian, a secret she kept from her friends and family her whole life. But at a school assembly honoring Martin Luther King Jr. earlier this month, that all changed.
Prior to the assembly, Kearney asked a teacher if, rather than singing a song or performing a dance routine like her classmates, she could give a speech. What followed is the video above, Kearney's heartfelt, poised, and elegant address in which she comes out as gay and tells her classmates that it's time to "break the silence" of all LGBT youth.
"Facing this reality was the most challenging thing I've ever had to do in my entire life," says Kearney, "simply because I knew that for the rest of my life I was going to face a world that told me I was wrong."
We think Reverend King would have been proud of Kearney, and tried to allay her fears with one of his most famous quotes: "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."