Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has shared her sadness about racial divisions in the United States, telling students at her former high school that she felt moved to speak out because the life of George Floyd mattered.
Meghan told graduates at Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles that she wrestled with the question of what to tell them, given the days of protests after the May 25 death of Floyd.
The handcuffed black man pleaded for air as a white police officer pressed a knee on his neck in Minneapolis.
She said her nervousness arose because her words would be “picked apart,” but she decided to speak anyway.
In a virtual address, she said she realized the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing, because Floyd’s life mattered.
His death has sparked days of protests and riots in the United States.
Memories of L.A. riots
The former Meghan Markle, who is biracial, said the unrest reminded her of the riots that took place in her hometown of Los Angeles after police officers were acquitted in the videotaped beating of Rodney King in 1992.
She said that unrest was “also triggered by a senseless act of racism,” and at the time, she remembers rushing home at age 11 or 12 and seeing smoke billowing out of buildings, people looting, and “men in the back of a van holding guns and rifles.”
“And those memories don’t go away,” Meghan said.
She and her husband Prince Harry, who is a grandson of Queen Elizabeth, are seeking a new life in California after stepping away from royal duties earlier this year.
Having cut off any co-operation with the British tabloid media, they have sought to independently shape their image and speak out on issues important to them.
Meghan’s video, which was first reported by the U.S. magazine Essence, offered encouragement to the graduates, urging them to consider the moments of light and humanity that emerged from the actions of peaceful protesters.
Meghan said she wished the graduates were starting their young lives in a better world.