As riots continue across much of the US with protests mirrored in lots of other countries around the globe such as the UK, Germany and Canada, the Duchess of Sussex has used her high profile platform to speak out. In a video for a virtual graduation ceremony at her old high school Immaculate Heart, Meghan speaks of the importance of remembering George Floyd and all the others who have lost their lives through racist crimes.
Speaking from her home in Los Angeles she says how she was keen to say the right thing “but I was scared that I wouldn’t or that it would be picked apart and then I realized 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.”
The video, which was shared exclusively with Essence magazine was filmed on Meghan’s phone. The Duchess had planned to share congratulations to the class of 2020, and give some words of support, encouragement and offered some memories of her own time at the school but recent events meant that she focused on a more pressing angle – the need for fundamental change.
“Now you get to be part of rebuilding. And I know sometimes people say ‘How many times do we have to rebuild?’ But we are going to rebuild and rebuild and rebuild until it is rebuilt, because when the foundation is broken so are we....You are going to lead with love, you are going to lead with compassion, you are going to use your voice. You are going to use your voice in a stronger way than you’ve ever been able to because most of you are 18 or are going to turn 18 so you’re going to vote.” She continued: “You are going to have empathy for those who don’t see the world through the same lens that you do because as diverse and vibrant and open-minded as I know that the teachings of the Immaculate Heart are, I know that you know that Black Lives Matter.”
Equality has long been Archie’s mom’s passion and a video she appeared in in 2012 has recently come to light for the USA Network’s Characters Unite ‘I Won’t Stand For____’ campaign in which she opened up about her own experience with racism. Meghan revealed how she grew up feeling like a ‘fly on the wall’ due to being bi-racial. “For me, in particular, it hits a really personal note. I am bi-racial, and most people can’t tell what I’m mixed with. And so some of the slurs I’ve heard or the really offensive jokes, or the names, it’s just hit me in a really strong way.”
In 2015, the mom-of-one also wrote an article for American Elle magazine in which she described her experiences of growing up mixed-race. She wrote about the gift her parents bought her one Christmas, saying: “When I was about seven, I had been fawning over a boxed set of Barbie dolls. It was called The Heart Family and included a mom doll, a dad doll, and two children. This perfect nuclear family was only sold in sets of white dolls or black dolls. I don‘t remember coveting one over the other, I just wanted one.”
“On Christmas morning, swathed in glitter-flecked wrapping paper, there I found my Heart Family: a black mum doll, a white dad doll, and a child in each color. My dad had taken the sets apart and customized my family.”