Meghan Markle has spoken about the death of George Floyd, and the subsequent protests that have erupted around the word, in a speech to students from her old high school.
Speaking via video call to students at Immaculate High School in Los Angeles – where Meghan now resides with husband Prince Harry and their one-year-old son Archie – the Duchess of Sussex specifically mentioned the death of Floyd, which has dominated the news in the past week.
Floyd’s death, which occurred after a white police office knelt on his neck for eight minutes, has sparked a series of Black Lives Matter protests, with many taking place in L.A.
Meghan’s speech for graduating students was first published on the Black women’s lifestyle magazine Essence. In the powerful talk, she explains that she waited before saying anything about Floyd but then realised silence was not the best route to take.
‘What we have seen in our country, our state and in our hometown of LA has been absolutely devastating,’ Meghan began. ‘I wasn’t sure what I could say to you. I wanted to say the right thing and I was really nervous that I wouldn’t or it would get picked apart and I realised the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing because George Floyd’s life mattered.’
Meghan also listed off other Black Americans who have been killed as a result of police brutality including Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile and Tamir Rice.
‘I’m so sorry that you have to grow up in a world where this is still present,’ said Meghan. The Duchess then described her memories of starting school amid the backdrop of the 1992 protests against police brutality and racial violence after LAPD police officers were filmed beating an African American man Rodney King after pulling him over in his car.
The mother-of-one then recalled how people did come together which she said she is seeing again now, telling students that they are going to be part of this movement.
‘Now you get to be part of rebuilding… because when the foundation is broken so are we,’ she added. ‘You are going to leave with love and compassion and use your voice in a stronger way than you have ever been able to… you are going to vote… I know you know that Black lives matter and I am already excited for what you are going to do with the world.’
Long before Meghan met and began dating a member of British royalty, Meghan was a powerful anti-racist voice. As a mixed race woman, Meghan had spoken of her bi-racial identity, feeling like an ‘other’, and the traumatic racism her African American mother, Doria, has experienced, in this very magazine in 2015.