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Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, spoke publicly for the first time about George Floyd’s death, calling it “absolutely devastating.”
She was speaking to the graduating class of Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles, in a video message commencement speech on Wednesday evening.
In a heartfelt address, she said she had been hesitant to speak about the ongoing protests because she didn’t want her words to be picked apart — but ultimately decided to do so after remembering a former teacher who used to say, “Always remember to put other’s needs above your own fears.”
“Those words have stuck with me throughout my entire life and I have thought about it more in the last week than ever before,” the Duchess said.
“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’s names we know and names we don’t know,” she said.
She recalled memories of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, which happened when she was 11 or 12 years old living in the city, and said those riots were “also triggered by senseless act of racism.”
“I know you know that black lives matter, so I am already excited for what you are going to do in the world,” she told the new graduates.
“You’re 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.”