Tamera Mowry-Housley made a heartbreaking return to “The Real” two weeks after her niece, Alaina Housley, was killed during the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California.
The 18-year-old college freshman was one of 12 people gunned down at the Borderline Bar & Grill near Los Angeles earlier this month. The “Sister Sister” alum and husband Adam Housley put out the call on social media for information about their missing niece before confirming she was among the victims.
“Our family’s been through a lot, but the interesting thing about grief is that you’ve gotta find the balance of moving forward and grieving at the same time,” Mowry-Housley tearfully explained on the show Monday. “It’s just been a little over two weeks ... she would want me to be here. And she would want me ... sweet Alaina ... to move forward.”
“I don’t like to say move on, because I don’t think I’ll ever move on with the fact that she’s not here with me or with our family,” she added.
The actress explained that she first met Alaina, her niece from marriage, when Alaina was only 5 years old and thought of her as “my sister from my heart.”
Tamera-Mowry said she hopes the tragedy is “catalyst for change” and went on to deliver an emotional plea for gun control to put and end to the epidemic of gun violence in the U.S.
“It’s obvious that we need change when it comes to gun violence,” she said. “I don’t care if I have to knock on the doors of the White House to do it.”
“Alaina was very sweet and loving and kind. She was also a debater. So she would want me to debate that. But also, I believe that it starts from within. Our country, and it’s sad to say this, but you have to be living underneath a rock to not believe these words, our country is sick,” she continued. “It’s diseased. If it needs healing. It needs healing from within. We are so divided.”
Mowry-Housley confirmed on Thursday that Alaina had been laid to rest in Napa, California, a week after the shooting.
“Today we lay you to rest sweet angel,” Tamera wrote on Instagram. “I’ll miss you forever and your sweet smile. Until we meet again.”
A foundation, Alaina’s Voice, has since been created to fund scholarships, support mental health initiatives and generate political action. Each of “The Real” hosts wore bracelets for the foundation in her honor.
“I just appreciate the outpouring love and support from everybody,” Mowry-Housley added on the show. “That sweet 18-year-old girl impacted people in such a positive way, and that’s how we’ve been able to move on.”