Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, spoke out about the death of George Floyd in a speech to high school students on Wednesday.
The royal delivered a virtual address to students at Immaculate Heart High School – her former school in Los Angeles – and admitted she was “nervous” about speaking to the graduates amid the protests following Floyd’s death at the hands of white police officers.
“I wasn’t sure what I could say to you,” she said, as she went on to reference other victims of police brutality in America. “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.
“And so did so many other people whose names we know and whose names we do not know.”
Meghan, the wife of British royal Prince Harry, also went on to recall her own memories of the Los Angeles riots in 1992 following the brutal beating of Rodney King – which she called 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,” Meghan, who was “11 or 12” at the time, recalled. “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.”
Concluding her speech, Meghan referenced some advice she was given by one of her teachers at the school at the age of 15.
“I remember my teacher at the time, one of my teachers, Ms Pollia, said to me as I was leaving for a day of volunteering, ‘Always remember to put other’s needs above your own fears,” she smiled. “And that has stuck with me throughout my entire life and I have thought about it more in the last week than ever before.”