George Floyd’s life mattered, says Duchess of Sussex in heartfelt message

BBC

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex

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Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex

The Duchess of Sussex has issued a personal message about the impact of George Floyd’s death in the United States, saying his life “mattered”.

Addressing students at her former school in Los Angeles, Meghan said the events have been “devastating”.

At a virtual graduation ceremony, she also reflected on race relations when she was young.

Meghan called on young people and the students of the school to come together to rebuild society.

A wave of anti-racism protests have been triggered by the death of African-American Mr Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on 25 May.

Four officers have been charged in relation to his death.

The vast majority of demonstrations over the past nine days have been peaceful, but some have turned violent and curfews have been imposed in a number of cities.

In the video of her virtual address to Immaculate Heart High School, the duchess said she was “nervous” about addressing graduates and speaking about events of the previous weeks.

She also referred to other African-Americans who died in police shootings in the US in recent years.

She told the all-girls school: “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, and 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.”

The video was first reported by the African-American female US magazine Essence, which reported her saying: “I was 11 or 12 years old 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.

“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.”

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