Taking a stand. Meghan Markle honored George Floyd and Black Lives Matter in a video for her former Los Angeles high school. The former Duchess of Sussex surprised students at her alma mater, Immaculate Heart High School, on Wednesday, June 3, with a video message for graduates in the wake of Floyd’s death and marches across the world in protest of police brutality and systemic racial violence.
“For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been planning on saying a few words to you for your graduation, and as we’ve all seen over the last week, what is happening in our country and in our state and in our hometown of L.A. has been absolutely devastating,” Meghan told the Immaculate Heart High School class of 2020 in a video played at the end of a two-hour virtual ceremony.
She continued, “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. Stephon Clark, his life mattered.”
In her speech, the Suits alum also looked back on the 1992 riots in protest of the excessive force used in the arrested and beating of Rodney King, an unarmed Black man, by the Los Angeles Police Department.“Those memories don’t go away.” she said. The former Duchess of Sussex ended her speech with a message to graduates to use their voice to effect change.
“You are going to lead with love, you are going to lead with compassion, you are going to use your voice,” she said. “You are going to use your voice in a stronger way than you have ever been able to, because most of you are 18, or you’re going to turn 18, so you’re going to vote. You are going to have empathy for those who don’t see the world through the same lens that you do, because with as diverse and vibrant and open-minded as I know the teachings at Immaculate Heart are, I know you know that black lives matter. So I am already excited for what you are going to do in the world. You are equipped, you are ready, we need you, and you are prepared. I am so proud to call each of you a fellow alumni.”
After the ceremony, a representative for the actress told Harper’s Bazaar that Meghan “felt compelled to directly address and speak to these young women about what’s happening in this country right now around the killing of George Floyd—as well as what’s been happening over many, many years and many, many generations to countless other black Americans.”
Meghan’s speech comes after the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, who was killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25. Floyd died of asphyxiation after Chauvin placed his knee on his neck for almost nine minutes. Four days after Floyd’s death, Chauvin was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Three other officers, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, who were present at the murder and did nothing to prevent Floyd’s death were also charged with aiding and abetting murder.