Meghan Markle surprised students at Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles this week by delivering a virtual commencement speech to her alma mater. During the five-minute address, the Duchess of Sussex spoke up about the ongoing protests against police brutality and the murder of George Floyd, and she also referenced her own personal history as a biracial woman growing up in California.
Markle admitted that what is happening in our country is “absolutely devastating,” and she wasn’t sure what to say. She wanted to say the “right thing” and she was “really nervous” that she wouldn’t or that her words would get picked apart. But, she ultimately realized that the only wrong thing to say is “nothing.”
Meghan Markle: “I wanted to say the right thing…I realized the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing. George Floyd's life mattered and Breonna Taylor's life mattered and Philando Castile's life mattered and Tamir Rice's life mattered…” pic.twitter.com/2CeH7aRnZN
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) June 4, 2020
“I’ve been planning on saying a few words to you for your graduation and as we all have seen over the past few weeks, what is happening in our country and in our state and in our hometown of LA has been absolutely devastating,” said Markle.“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 don’t know. Stephon Clark. His life mattered.”
Getting emotional, Markle said that the first thing she wanted to tell the graduates was that she was sorry they have to grow up in a world where this is still present. She spoke about doing community service during her sophomore year, and how a teacher told her to put the needs of others over her own fears.
Markle also mentioned the riots in Los Angeles in 1992 in the wake of the Rodney King verdict, which took place when she was “11 or 12 years old.” The Duchess said that those riots were also triggered by a senseless act of racism, and she remembers the curfews that were put in place.
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) June 4, 2020
Markle says she remembers rushing back home and seeing ash fall from the sky and smoke billow out of buildings while smelling the smoke around her. The wife of Prince Harry and mom of Archie Harrison also remembers seeing men in the back of a van holding guns and rifles.
“I remember pulling up to the house and seeing the tree that had always been there, completely charred. And those memories don’t go away,” said Meghan Markle.
The Duchess of Sussex finished her remarks by apologizing again to the graduates because “we have not gotten to the place where you deserve to be.”