Meghan Markle has spoken out about the death of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the unrest rocking the country in a video address to the graduating class of her old school, the Immaculate Heart High School, during a virtual commencement speech on Wednesday evening.
Meghan said at the beginning of her speech, “I wasn’t sure what I could say to you. I wanted to say the right thing and I was really nervous that it would get picked apart. And I realized the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing because George 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.”
A source close to Meghan said that she had filmed the video on her phone, and said that she was “excited” to be part of the ceremony, “but after this week, knew there was no way she could speak to a group of compassionate, service-driven young women without addressing George Floyd and the racism that plagues this country.”
The source added, “Her heart hurts for the young people that are graduating into a world of uncertainty and injustice. She hopes that her words provided a small bit of hope, comfort, or inspiration to the school community she cares about so deeply.”
In the video, Markle, who is now living in LA full time with her husband Prince Harry and baby Archie, said, “What is happening in our country and in our state and in our hometown of LA has been absolutely devastating.”
In one striking section of the address, Markle recalled living in Los Angeles during the 1992 riots.
“I was 11 or 12 years old and it was the LA Riots, which was also triggered by senseless act of racism,” she said. “I remember the curfew and I remember rushing back home and on that drive home, 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. 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.”
Markle apologized to the young people that the world had not moved on sufficiently for such scenes to be a “history lesson” rather than daily reality.
Markle concluded by saying, “With as diverse, vibrant, and opened minded as I know the teachings are at Immaculate Heart, I know you know that black lives matter. You’re going to use your voice in a stronger way than you have ever been able to because most of you are 18—or you’re turning 18—so you’re going to vote. You’re going to have empathy for those who don’t see the world through the same lens that you do. You’re ready. We need you and you’re prepared.”