Meghan Markle’s address on Black Lives Matter to graduating students at her former high school
“I wanted to say the right thing and I was really nervous… and I realised the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing.”
The 38-year-old Dutchess of Sussex, whose mother is African-American, attended Immaculate Heart in Los Angeles from the age of 11 to 18.
On the 1992 Los Angeles riots sparked by the brutal beating of Rodney King by white cops, when she was 11 years old: “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 holding guns and rifles. And I remember pulling up at the house and seeing the tree, that had always been there, completely charred. Those memories don’t go away.”
On waiting to speak out: “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 realised the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing.”
On African Americans killed by police: “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. Stephon Clark, his life mattered.”
On what her teacher once told her: “One of my teachers, Ms Pollia, said to me as I was leaving for a day of volunteering, ‘always remember to put other’s needs above your own fears’. And that has stuck with me throughout my entire life.”
On people coming together: “We are seeing people stand in solidarity, we are seeing communities come together and to uplift. And you are going to be part of this movement.”
Many Immaculate Heart students were in tears after hearing the address. “Meghan Markle talking about George Floyd and Black Lives Matter in my virtual graduation,” posted one on social media. “I’m crying.”