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05th Jun 2020

Meghan Markle gave a powerful graduation speech to her old high school’s students about the current US protests

Anna Daly

Meghan Markle

“I am sorry that, in a way, we have not got the world to the place that you deserve it to be.”

Meghan Markle, who recently moved back to Los Angelas with her husband, Prince Harry, gave an inspiring speech on Black Lives Matter and on the current situation in the US.

The speech addresses the graduating class of Immaculate Heart, the high school Meghan attended as a student. She starts by saying that she was initially nervous to talk about the topic to the students, worried that she might not say the right thing or that what she said would be picked apart.

However, as she explained:

“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.”

Meghan Markle has recalled a time when her high school teacher told her to always put other people’s needs above her own fears, advice which has struck with her ever since.

She followed by giving an account of her own experience of the 1992 LA riots:

“I was 11 or 12 years old when I was just about to start Immaculate Heart Middle School in the fall and it was the LA riots, which was also triggered by a senseless act of racism. And 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 and seeing people run out of buildings carrying bags and looting, and I remember seeing men in the back of a van just holding guns and rifles, and I remember pulling up to the house and seeing the tree that had always been there completely charred.”

She said that she could not believe that these students now had to experience a different version of the same thing so many years later. “This is something that you should have an understanding of,” she said, “but an understanding of as a history lesson, not as your reality. So I am sorry that, in a way, we have not gotten the world to the place that you deserve it to be.”

Meghan Markle then said that one positive that she could remember from her own experience was that people came together and that that is happening now too. She encouraged the students to take what they have learned in school, all of their work and skills and values, and to use that in their lives ahead.

“Now you get to be part of rebuilding. And I know sometimes people say ‘how many times do we need to rebuild?’ Well, you know what? We are going to rebuild and rebuild and rebuild until it is rebuilt. Because when the foundation is broken, so are we.”

She finished by encouraging each student to go out and use their voice, to vote, to lead with love and compassion, and to have empathy for those who don’t see the world through the same lens as they do.

“Please know that I am cheering you on all along the way. I am exceptionally proud of you, and I am wishing you a huge congratulations on today, the start of all the impact you’re going to make in the world as the leaders that we all so deeply crave. Congratulations, ladies, and thank you in advance.”