Meghan delivered a heartfelt speech to students who are graduating from her former high school, Immaculate Heart High School in LA. The Duchess of Sussex’ address was heavily focused on the ongoing protests in the US after the death of George Floyd.
While issuing a rallying cry to students, telling youngsters to speak up about their own experience with racism, Meghan recalled just how heart wrenching it had been for her as a teenager to see her own city, Los Angeles, to be at the centre of riots following a “senseless act of racism”.
She said: “I am so sorry that you have to grow up in a world where this is still present.
“I was 11 or 12 when I – I was just about to start the Immaculate Heart Middle School in the fall – 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 falling from the sky, and smelling the smoke and seeing the smoke coming out of buildings and seeing people rushing out of homes carrying bags and looting.
“And I remember seeing a man in the back of a van just holding guns and rifles.
“And I remember pulling up to the house and seeing the trees, that have always been there, completely charred.
“And those memories don’t go away.”
Meghan then expresses her deep sorrow for the fact that years after the LA riots in 1992, teenagers still have to live through similar riots and racist acts.
She said: “And I can’t imagine that a 17 or 18-year-old, which is how old you are now, that you would have to have a different version of that same type of experience.
“That’s something you should have an understanding of, but an understanding of as a history lesson, not as your reality.”
The 1992 LA riots started after a trial jury acquitted four officers of the Los Angeles Police Department for usage of excessive force in the arrest and beating of Rodney King.
The arrest had been videotaped and widely viewed in TV broadcasts.
The protests lasted for more than a week, during which 63 people died, 2,383 people were injured and more than 12,000 people were arrested.
In the video, Meghan, an outspoken activist who has in the past reflected on her own experience with racism in the US, also openly backed the Black Lives Matter movement.
Confessing she waited to speak up because she wanted to make sure she would say the right thing, Meghan stated: “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 realised the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing.
“Because George Floyd’s life mattered, and Breonna Taylor’s life mattered and Philando Castille’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.
“And I was thinking about this moment, when I was a sophomore in high school, I was 15 and sophomore year is the year we do volunteer work, which is a pre-requisite for graduating.
“I remember one of my teachers said to me before I was leaving before a day of volunteering, ‘Always remember to put other’s needs above your own fears.'”
Meghan is believed to have already expressed her support to the Black Lives Matter movement through the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, of which she is the vice president while her husband Prince Harry is the president.
Staff at the association published earlier this week a poignant tweet in which they said remaining silent during the US protests was not an option.
The tweets read: “Young people are vital voices in the fight against injustice and racism around the world.
“As a global community of young leaders we stand together in pursuit of fairness and a better way forward. Silence is not an option. #BlackLivesMatter
“We all have the power to effect positive change. It is time to speak up and speak out.”