WATCH: ‘George Floyd’s Life Mattered’ Meghan Markle Says in Commencement Speech

June 4, 2020

    Meghan Markle surprised students of her former high school with a viral commencement speech on Wednesday and discussed the ongoing protests and the death of George Floyd while in police custody as well as her own experiences as a biracial woman growing up in California.

    "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," the Duchess of Sussex told Immaculate Heart graduates. 

    In a five-minute speech, Markle, 38 spoke out about police brutality. "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."

    With tears in her eyes, she said, "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."

    Markle, who moved back to Los Angeles with her husband Prince Harry, 35, and their 1-year-old son Archie in March, shared her memories of living in LA during the 1992 riots caused by the beating of Rodney King at the hands of police.

    "I was 11 or 12 years old and it was the LA riots, which was also triggered by a senseless act of racism," she recalled. "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."

    She added "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," Markle said.

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