On Wednesday, Meghan Markle addressed the graduating class of Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles, the high school that she herself attended. The Duchess of Sussex discussed the “absolutely devastating” death of George Floyd and others who were killed by police. 

Markle, who is the wife to Prince Harry, said, “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.”

She added, “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.”

Markle expressed how she felt sorry for the graduates and said they are living what should be a “history lesson” as a “reality.” She then went on to share her own personal experience of riots in 1992 that occurred after the police had beaten Rodney King, “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. I am sorry that in a way we have not gotten to the place where you deserve it to be.”

Markle ended her speech with one final thing, “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.”

Protests have been occurring in major cities all across the United States in response to the death of George Floyd who died in police custody when an officer kneeled on his neck. As social outrage grew, people all across the world have been joining in the movement. On June 3 in London, protestors stood outside Buckingham Palace, chanting “justice now.” 

Markle and her husband Prince Harry moved to California earlier this year after they had renounced their royal duties. This happened less than two years after their royal wedding in 2018. The couple shares a son together Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

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