Duchess Meghan Markle speaks out on Black Lives Matter movement in moving speech

meghan markle speech black lives matter los angeles riots
(Image credit: Getty)

Duchess Meghan Markle has spoken out on the Black Lives Matter movement in a moving speech.

  • Duchess Meghan Markle has made moving speech about the Black Lives Matter movement and recent riots taking place in her home town of Los Angeles.
  • The Duchess of Sussex made the speech to high school students graduating from her former high school Immaculate Heart.
  • In other royal news, ex-soldier reveals the touching thing Prince Harry misses about royal life.

Duchess Meghan Markle has spoken out on the Black Lives Matter movement and the riots taking place over in the USA, as she addressed graduating students from her former high school Immaculate Heart in Los Angeles.

In a video that was shared with online Black lifestyle magazine Essence, the Duchess explained to students that for the past few weeks she had been planning on speaking to them (virtually) on the day of their graduation and went on to address the “absolutely devastating” events taking part throughout the USA and especially in the Duchess’s and students’ home town of LA.

Duchess Meghan started the speech by admitting that she wasn’t sure what she could say to the students, adding, “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 that 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.”

MORE: Michelle Obama shares poignant statement following George Floyd’s death

The Duchess went on to open up about a moment that she experienced when she was a young teenager attending the high school, when during a day of volunteering a teacher told her, “Always remember to put others needs above your own fears.

“And that has stuck with me throughout my entire life and I have thought about it more in the last week than ever before,” she admitted.

"So the first thing I want to say to you is that I'm sorry. I'm so sorry that you have to grow up in a world where this is still present."

Speaking about the 1992 Los Angeles riots when the city saw an uprising after the unjust deaths of Black citizens, Rodney King and Latasha Harlins, Meghan opened up, “I was 11 or 12 years old and it was the LA Riots, which was also triggered by a senseless act of racism.

“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 revealed.

meghan markle speech black lives matter los angeles riots

"I remember seeing men in the back of a van just holding guns and rifles. I remember pulling up the house and seeing the tree, that had always been there, completely charred. And those memories don’t go away."

Adding that the “memories never go away”, the Duchess expressed her disbelief at the fact that the young people of today are still experiencing the same horror, saying that in her eyes they should have an understanding of that type of situation "as a history lesson, not as a reality".

"I am sorry in a way that we have not gotten the world to a place where you deserve it to be," she said.

The Duchess then went on to touch on the more positive aspects of the circumstances, saying that when it happened in the past it was a time when “people came together.”

Giving examples of how the same thing is happening now, the Duchess added, “We are seeing people stand in solidarity, we are seeing communities come together and to uplift.

MORE: Meghan Markle reveals her mantra for dealing with negativity

“And you are going to be part of this movement.”

Acknowledging that youngsters have been going through a time of immense change and upheaval, the Duchess said, “I know that this is not the graduation that you envisioned and this is not the celebration that you imagined.

“But I also know that there’s a way for us to reframe this for you and to not see this as the end of something instead to see this as the beginning of you harnessing all of the work, values and skills that you have embodied over the last four yours".

“And now you channel that,” she continued. "Now all of that work gets activated - now you get to be part of rebuilding.

"I know sometimes people say how many times do we have to rebuild? We are going to rebuild and rebuild and rebuild until it is rebuilt.

meghan markle speech black lives matter los angeles riots

"Because when the foundation is broken, so are we."

“You are going to lead with love,” continued the Duchess, “you are going to lead with compassion, you are going to use your voice in a stronger way than you have ever been able to. Because most of you are 18 - or you’re turning 18 - so you’re going to vote.

"You’re going to have empathy for those who don’t see the world through the same lens that you do. Because, with as diverse, vibrant and opened minded as I know the teachings are at Immaculate Heart are, I know you know that Black lives matters.

MORE: These are the bestselling books about racism you can read right now

“So I am already excited for what you are going to do in the world,” the royal encouraged. “You are equipped, you are ready, we need you and you are prepared.

"I am so proud to call each of you a fellow alumni and I am so eager to see what you’re going to do. Please know that I'm 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 are going to make on the world as the leaders that we all so deeply crave."

Aleesha Badkar
Digital Beauty Editor, woman&home

Aleesha is Digital Beauty Editor at woman&home, where she gets to share her expertise into all the best techniques, sharpest tools and newest products—with a particular savvy in skincare and fragrance.

Previously, she was Deputy Editor and Beauty & Fashion Editor for My Imperfect Life, where she headed up the beauty, fashion and eCommerce pages. In the past, she has worked as Shopping Writer at woman&home, gained an AOP awards nomination after working on their news team, contributed to Women's Health, Stylist and Goodto and earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London.