Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have been living in LA for a few months now, as part of their new life in which they're no longer senior royals. In that time they've kept up their charitable work via video calls (Meghan was recently seen mentoring a young woman ahead of a job interview).
Now, a new video has been shared of the Duchess of Sussex addressing students about to graduate from her old high school, Immaculate Heart (which she attended between the ages of 11 and 18). In her moving five-minute address, Meghan begins by saying she was initially nervous about commenting on the current protests and riots in America (sparked by the Black Lives Matter movement) because she wanted to "say the right thing" or feared that her words would be "picked apart".
However, Meghan then says she realised that speaking up was the very best possible thing she could do. "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 many other people's, whose names we know and whose names we do not know. Stephon Clark, his life mattered."
"George Floyd's life mattered and Breonna Taylor's life mattered and Philando Castile's life mattered and Tamir Rice's life mattered."— Omid Scobie (@scobie) June 4, 2020
Duchess Meghan has shared a powerful video with @IHPandas Immaculate Heart High School’s class of 2020 for their graduation.#BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/BzUmfnKICb
She also recalled the time a teacher told her, aged 15, to "always remember to put others needs above your own fears" – a sentiment which Meghan says she has carried with her ever since and has thought about "more in the last week than ever before".
Continuing on with her powerful speech, Meghan also shared her personal memories of the LA riots which took place in 1992. "I was 11 or 12 years old when I was just about to start Immaculate Heart Middle School in the fall and it was the LA riots, which were also triggered by a senseless act of racism."
She then recalled, "I remember the curfew, I remember rushing back home, and on that drive home seeing ash fall from the sky and smelling the smoke, and seeing the smoke billowing out of buildings, and seeing people running out of those buildings carrying bags and looting."
Meghan continued, describing pulling up to her house and seeing the tree which had always stood outside was "completely charred", before apologising to the newly graduating students. "That's something that you have an understanding of, but as a history lesson, not as a reality – so I am sorry that we haven't gotten the world to a place where you deserve it to be."
The Duchess concluded by urging the students to keep positive for the future. "You know that you're going to rebuild, rebuild and rebuilt until it is rebuilt... because when the foundation is broken, so are we. You are going to lead with love, you are going to lead with compassion, you are going to use your voice."
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