Meghan Markle has spoken out about the death of George Floyd, in a virtual address to graduating pupils at her former high school, Immaculate Heart High in Los Angeles.
Addressing the students, she said “George Floyd’s life mattered.”
“As we’ve all seen over the last week what is happening in our country and in our state and in our home town of L.A. has been absolutely devastating,” said Markle, who recently relocated to Los Angeles with her partner, Prince Harry, following a brief stint in Canada after departing the U.K.
She told the all-girls school: “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 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.”
The five minute address was first reported by the African-American female U.S. magazine Essence, which reported Markle as saying: “I was 11 or 12 years old and it was the L.A. riots, which was also triggered by a senseless act 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. 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.”
Markle went on to credit a teacher from the school for giving her the courage to speak out for what she believes in. “One of my teachers, Ms. Pollia, said to me, ‘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,” said Markle.
A wave of anti-racism protests have been triggered by the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. Four officers have now been charged in relation to his death.
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