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Meghan Markle's Virtual Commencement Speech 2020

Meghan Markle Delivers Powerful Commencement Speech to Her Former High School: "George Floyd's Life Mattered"

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 12: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex delivers a speech as she launches the Smart Works capsule collection on September 12, 2019 in London, England. Created in September 2013 Smart Works exists to help unemployed women regain the confidence they need to succeed at job interviews and return to employment. (Photo by Mark Large - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

On Wednesday evening, Meghan Markle delivered a virtual commencement speech addressing the class of 2020 at her former high school, Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles. She offered her encouragement and also her support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

"You're going to have empathy for those who don't see the world through the same lens that you do. You're ready. We need you, and you're prepared."

In a video shared exclusively with Essence magazine, the duchess opened her speech by saying, "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 it would get picked apart," Meghan admits. "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 also shared her experiences of growing up in Los Angeles during the LA Riots, "I was 11 or 12 years old, and it was the LA Riots, which was also triggered by senseless act of racism [. . .] and those memories don't go away."

"I'm so sorry that you have to grow up in a world where this is still present," Meghan's powerful speech continued. "We're seeing people stand in solidarity, we are seeing communities come together and to uplift. You are going to be part of this movement," she said, closing her speech by offering encouragement and optimism for the graduating class.

"With as diverse, vibrant, and open-minded as I know the teachings are at Immaculate Heart, I know you know that Black lives matters. 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. You're ready. We need you, and you're prepared," Meghan said.

Head to Essence magazine to watch Meghan's full commencement speech.

Image Source: Getty / WPA Pool
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