Jun 4, 2020
Meghan Markle Speech Transcript on George Floyd Death, Protests
Meghan Markle released a video expressing her thoughts on George Floyd’s death and the protests from the past week. Read the full transcript here.
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Meghan Markle: (00:00)
Immaculate Heart High School, graduating class of 2020. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been planning on saying a few words to you for your graduation. As we’ve all seen over the last week, what is happening in our country, and in our state, and in our hometown of LA, has been absolutely devastating. 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 that it would get picked apart. I realized 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. Stefan Clark, his life mattered.
Meghan Markle: (01:11)
I was thinking about this moment when I was a sophomore in high school. I was 15 and, as you know, sophomore year is the year that we do volunteer work, which is a prerequisite for graduating. And I remember my teacher at the time, one of my teachers, Ms. Pollia said to me before I was leaving for a day of volunteering, “Always remember to put others’ needs above your own fears.” And that has stuck with me through my entire life. I’ve thought about it more in the last week than ever before.
Meghan Markle: (01:49)
So the first thing I want to say to you is that I’m sorry. I am so sorry that you have to grow up in a world where this is still present. I was 11 or 12 years old when I was just about to start Immaculate Heart Middle School in the fall 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, and seeing people run out of buildings, carrying bags and looting. 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. Those memories don’t go away.
Meghan Markle: (02:59)
I can’t imagine that at 17 or 18 years 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 that you should have an understanding of, but an understanding of as history lesson, not as your reality. So I am sorry that, in a way, we have not gotten the world to the place that you deserve it to be.
Meghan Markle: (03:31)
The other thing though, that I do remember about that time, was how people came together and we are seeing that right now. We are seeing that from the sheriff in Michigan, or the police chief in Virginia, we are seeing people stand in solidarity. We are seeing communities come together and to uplift. You are going to be part of this movement.