Duchess of Sussex speaks out: ‘George Floyd’s life mattered’

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, made her first public comments about George Floyd’s death, the protests and civil unrest that have occurred in the aftermath of the Minneapolis resident’s death, calling it “absolutely devastating.”

The former Meghan Markle spoke in a video to the graduating class of her former school, Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles on Wednesday evening, the BBC reported. Markle also recalled race relations when she was young.

“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," the Duchess said during the virtual graduation ceremony.

The Duchess said she originally hesitated to speak out because of fears her words would be “picked apart,” but decided to talk after recalling the words of a former teacher.

“(He said) ‘always remember to put other’s needs above your own fears,'" she said. “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 talked about the riots in Los Angeles in 1992, which occurred after three officers were acquitted in the beating of Rodney King. Meghan said those riots were “also triggered by (a) 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," Meghan told the graduates in the 3-minute, 22-second video. “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.”