In a touching address to her former high school, Meghan Markle paid tribute to George Floyd and others who have died as a result of racist-based violence.
The Duchess of Sussex talked about the “absolutely devastating” killing of George Floyd, apologizing to the students of her former high school in Los Angeles over the fact that they have to grow up in a world where the recent tragic incidents are still happening.
Meghan Markle gave the surprise commencement speech to the graduating class of Immaculate Heart High School at a virtual ceremony yesterday evening, where she spoke via video call.
She said she found it difficult to find the words to communicate how she felt about the death of George Floyd and the ensuing social unrest in the country.
What is happening in our country and in our state and in our hometown of L.A. has been absolutely devastating. 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 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.
You’re going to use your voice in a stronger way than you’ve ever been able to because most of you are 18 – or you’re going to turn 18 soon — 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.”
Meghan remembered when one of her former teachers, Ms. Pollia, had said to her: “Always remember to put other’s needs above your own fears.”
That has stuck with me throughout my entire life and I have thought about it more in the last week than ever before. I am so sorry that you have to grow up in a world where this is still present.”
She told them how her hometown was hit by riots when she was 11 or 12 after the violent beating of Rodney King by the Los Angeles Police Department in 1991. Meghan said the historic occurrence was “triggered by senseless acts of racism.
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, and seeing people run out of buildings carrying bags and looting.
I remember seeing men in the back of a van just holding guns and rifles. I remember pulling up the house and seeing the tree, that had always been there, completely charred. And those memories don’t go away,” Meghan continued. “I am sorry that in a way we have not gotten to the place where you deserve it to be.”
At the end of her speech, she told the students that all the skills and values they had embodied over the past four years put them in a strong position to be part of the “rebuilding.”
I know you know that Black Lives Matter. I am already excited for what you are going to do in the world. You are ready, we need you and you are prepared. I’m so proud to call each of you a fellow alumni. I am cheering you on, all along the way. I am exceptionally proud of you.”
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