The Duchess of Sussex has told high school students that they can make a difference as she spoke about the death of George Floyd. In a message to the virtual graduation ceremony at her former school, the Duchess of Sussex said that she had thought long and hard about whether to address the issue before adding ”I realised the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing.”
Meghan was speaking to students at the Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles by video. She told them that ”I wasn’t sure what I could say to you. I wanted to say the right thing and I was really nervous that I wouldn’t or 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 Castile’s life mattered and Tamir Rice’s life mattered”.
The Duchess of Sussex then added “And so did so many other people whose names we know and whose names we do not know. Stephon Clark, his life mattered.”
George Floyd was arrested on May 25th 2020 in Minneapolis and later died in police custody. One police officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with second degree murder. Three others are charged with aiding and abetting murder. Protests against racism began within hours of George Floyd’s death becoming public and have continued across the United States in the days since.
Meghan began by telling the students that ”as we’ve all seen over the last week, what is happening in our country, and in our state, in our hometown of LA has been absolutely devastating.”
Meghan also reflected on the students leaving school at a time when protests are taking place in cities and towns across the United States. She told the teenagers about her own memories of the 1992 Los Angeles riots which followed the acquittal of four police officers who had been charged with brutality following the beating of Rodney King. The Duchess said she wished that those graduating now didn’t have to experience similar circumstances, adding ”that’s something you should have an understanding of but an understanding of as a history lesson, not as your reality.”
And she told the students that it was time to rebuild and that ”you are going to lead with love, you are going to lead with compassion, you are going to use your voice.” The Duchess of Sussex finished by saying ”you are going to have empathy for those who don’t see the world through the same lens that you do because with as diverse and vibrant and open minded as I know the teachings at Immaculate Heart are, I know you know that black lives matter.”