Meghan Markle has spoken out about the death of African American George Floyd which has sparked Black Lives Matter protests across the globe. George Floyd, 46, died of a heart attack after being restrained by a police officer in Minneapolis last week. Meghan issued an emotional plea to her former high school in a moving graduation speech.
The US-born former actress told high school pupils "George Floyd's life mattered" in a heartfelt speech about racism in America.
George Floyd died from a cardiac arrest after a police officer restrained him be kneeling on his neck for eight minutes.
Meghan Markle's George Floyd statement in full
Meghan made the moving speech to pupils graduating at Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles.
Meghan started the address with: "As we've all seen over the last week what is happening in our country and in our state and in our home town of LA has been absolutely devastating,"
Meghan Markle Black Lives Matter: Meghan's George Floyd statement in full
She added: “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 revealed it was one of her teachers who first gave her the courage to speak out.
She said: “One of my teachers, Ms. Pollia, said to me, ‘always remember to put other’s needs above your own fears.’ That has stuck with me throughout my entire life and I have thought about it more in the last week than ever before.”
Meghan recalled living is Los Angeles as a girl during the 1992 riots.
She said: “I was 11 or 12 years old and it was the LA Riots, which was also triggered by 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… I remember seeing men in the back of a van just holding guns and rifles.
“I remember pulling up the house and seeing the tree, that had always been there, completely charred. And those memories don’t go away.”
She ended the address with a message of hope.
Meghan said: “We’re seeing that right now, from the sheriff in Michigan or the police chief in Virginia.
"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.”
“With as diverse, vibrant and opened 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.”