Meghan Markle, aka the Duchess of Sussex, practically gave a graduation speech at her former school, Immaculate Heart High School and Middle School in Los Angeles, which addressed current protests against racism and police brutality in the United States and its own story as a biracial woman growing up in California.
“Immaculate Heart High School, promotion of 2020, for a few weeks, I intended to say a few words about your diploma and, as we have all seen in the last few weeks, what is happening in our country and in our state and in our hometown of LA has been absolutely devastating. “
“And I didn’t really know what I could tell you,” she said. “I wanted to say the right thing. And I was really nervous that I would not do it, or that it would be separate, and I realized – the only bad thing to say is to say nothing.
“Because the life of George Floyd was important, and the life of Breonna Taylor was important, and the life of Philando Castile was important, and the life of Tamir Rice was important, just like so many other people whose names we know and whose names we do not know. Stephon Clark. His life counted. “
Meghan’s address comes after days of turmoil across the United States after George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed when a white Minneapolis police officer put him in a knee choke.
“The first thing I want to tell you is that I’m sorry. I’m so sorry that you have to grow up in a world where this is always there, ”she said.
Meghan then spoke about her memories of living in Los Angeles during the riots following the death of Rodney King at the hands of the police in 1992 and made a direct comparison between the death of King and the death of George Floyd.
“I was 11 or 12 when I was about to start Immaculate Heart Middle School (IHMS) in the fall and it was the LA riots that were also triggered by an act of senseless racism” she said.
“I remember the curfew and I remember rushing home and on this way to see ashes fall from the sky and smell the smoke – and see the smoke coming out of the buildings and seeing people coming out of the buildings and loot and see men in the back of the van just holding guns and rifles. ”
“I can’t imagine that … you should have a different version of this same type of experience. This is something you should understand – but an understanding like a history lesson, not like your reality. “
Meghan told the graduates that she knew they would channel what they learned at Heart High School and would be leaders in these uncertain times.
“You will lead with love, you will lead with compassion, you will use your voice. “
“You are going to use your voice louder than you have ever been, because most of you are 18, or you are going to be 18, so you are going to vote. You’re going to have empathy for those who don’t see the world through the same lens as you – because with teachings as diverse, vibrant and open as I know, the teachings of Immaculate Heart are, I know that you know black lives matter. “
“You are equipped, you are ready, we need you and you are ready.” “