The movement began when Chappelle first took the stage with Melissa McCarthy to present the award for Best Director for a Comedy Series. The comedian started out off-script and managed to give a nod to Washington, D.C. Public Schools in the process.
"If you haven't heard, we are both Emmy winners this year," he began, in reference to McCarthy. "That's right, and it is an honor to be amongst you all. I am truly amazed how many black people are here. I counted 11 on the monitor. I should also tell you this: I skipped rehearsal."
"Now I will read this teleprompter, please forgive me," he continued. "Shout out to D.C. Public Schools. Here we go."
Later on in the broadcast, Oliver picked up where Chappelle left off when he and his team took to the stage to accept their award for Best Writing for a Variety Series.
"Like Dave Chappelle, I would like to unexpectedly thank D.C. Public Schools because I think it would be great if it started trending on Twitter for no reason tonight whatsoever," he said. "So if you are tweeting about the Emmys, please use the hashtag #DCPublicSchools."
Users began to use the hashtag, and it immediately hit No.2 on Twitter's worldwide trending list, after the Emmys hashtag itself.
And the D.C. Public Schools themselves, caught off-guard by the sudden attention, tweeted their own response to their sudden fame.
"What an unexpected honor!" the account later tweeted. "We'd like to thank our educators, our families, and of course, our amazing students. #emmys #dcpublicschools."
DC public schools recently launched a five-year strategic plan, which aims to "ensure that every school guarantees students reach their full potential through rigorous and joyful learning experiences provided in a nurturing environment" – using a "students first" approach in which "every student feels loved, challenged, and prepared to positively influence society and thrive in life."