The Duchess of Sussex surprised Immaculate Heart students with a five-minute address to discuss the ongoing protests and her own history as a biracial woman growing up in California, reported Essence Magazine.
Meghan MarkleGetty Images
“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,” Markle, 38, said.
“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.”
“The first thing I want to say to you is that I’m sorry. I’m so sorry you have to grow up in a world where this is still present,” she continued with tears in her eyes.
Markle recently moved back to her hometown with Prince Harry, 35, and their one-year-old son, Archie in March, and recalled her memories of living in LA during the riots in the wake of the death of Rodney King at the hands of police in 1992.
George Floydvia REUTERS
“I was 11 or 12 years old and it was the LA Riots, which was also triggered by a senseless act of racism,” she told the graduates. “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 to 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,” finished Markle.
Earlier in the week, a 2012 video of Markle resurfaced where she spoke about her own experience with racism.