Meghan Markle has spoken to high school students in a virtual speech and told them that George Floyd’s life mattered.
The Duchess and former Suits star was addressing students at the Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles, where she received her own education.
Meghan said she was “nervous,” giving the speech amidst the ongoing protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of white police officers in Minneapolis, but she decided that the only wrong thing she could say was to “say nothing.”
Referencing police brutality, Meghan stated: “Floyd’s life mattered, and Breonna Taylor’s life mattered, and Philando Castile’s life mattered, and Tamir Rice’s life mattered. And so did so many other people whose names we know and whose names we do not know.”
Meghan Markle said she’s “sorry” to the students
Staring intensely at the camera, she told the students: “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry that you have to grow up in a world where this is still present.”
She then went on to talk about her own experiences and memories as a child of the 1992 Los Angeles riots following the brutal beating of Rodney King by the LAPD. She spoke of her memories of “seeing ash fall from the sky, and smelling the smoke and seeing the smoke billow out of buildings. I remember seeing men in the back of a van just holding guns and rifles.”
She told them that the memories don’t go away: “I remember pulling up to the house and seeing the tree that had always been there, completely charred. And those memories don’t go away.”
Meghan Markle spoke with hope for the future
She also struck a positive note when she spoke of how people come together during these times of crisis, “we are seeing that now… we are seeing people stand up in solidarity and we are seeing communities come together.”
Meghan finished the speech by telling the students that they would be “part of the rebuilding… you are going to lead with love, you are going to lead with compassion… I’m already excited about what you’re going to do in the world.”
This was the first time that Meghan has publicly spoken about the current situation. Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry, have received some criticism recently for their silence on Goerge Floyd’s death and the subsequent protests, especially as they now consider Los Angeles their home.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex shocked many around the world when they announced earlier this year that they would be quitting their roles as senior members of the royal family and would leave Britain.