Meghan supports Black Lives Matter.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, once again did not disappoint with her latest public engagement. Her continued ascension as a transformational figure for so many, especially for the youth, is a profound and poignant journey. This time, she addressed the 2020 graduating class of Immaculate Heart High School, her alma mater, in a virtual commencement speech.
The unusual mode of delivery for her speech was due to the continued social distancing and quarantining requirements as a result of the COVID19 pandemic. Schools and universities used alternative, but still meaningful, ways to honor their student bodies’ achievements thanks to digital technology. And Meghan stepped up to congratulate the graduating class and send them off with a heartfelt, personal reflection on the ongoing global protests condemning the murder of George Floyd by one police officer, along with his three colleagues who aided and abetted in the act. The protests also encompass the systematic acts of racial profiling, racial animus, and savage, brutal, all too often deadly acts by police against black people.
She acknowledged the nervousness about speaking to the young ladies on the issue, of having the right words to say, knowing that her words likely would be picked apart. Clearly, she is aware of the rabid desire to condemn any action that she takes or does not take, anything she says or chooses not to say. Living life on her own terms, with her family, stirs the anger in her haters.
But it was her teacher’s advice to her before heading off to a volunteer assignment that gave her the boost to her confidence: “Always remember to put others’ needs above your own fears.” Letting that message sink in, Meghan knew she had to speak up. She had something to say.
In a five-minute speech, she shared an inspirational and celebratory message that was on point with a quote from Maya Angelou: “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” And Meghan indeed had a song for all to hear. She stands at a unique vantage point with certain life experiences that has shaped her worldview. From the racial abuse that her mother endured, the life-sucking ordeal while in the clutches of the royal family, and the harrowing memories of what she saw during the Los Angeles riots that were triggered by the acquittal of the police who assaulted Rodney King until his body was broken in the streets. Honest and earnest, she lamented that these students “would have to have a different version of the same type of experience,” and regrets that “we have not gotten the world to a place that you deserve it to be.”
Meghan certainly didn’t enter a world free of hidden agenda, where she would be treated fairly. Instead there was palace intrigue, media and tabloid efforts to stamp out her shine if it ensured the status quo around a cast of milquetoast characters. The collective hate is on par for those baffled, insecure, and bothered by a born leader who inspires change, who fully encourages others to think outside the box, and establishes a deep bond of friendship with those she meets and works with for a shared goal. Meghan is a trailblazer and the young people love her.
Unfortunately, what young black Britons learned was that their acceptance and inclusivity in a rigid classist and racist society had still not been achieved. They witnessed mention of Meghan’s “exotic DNA” and “(almost) straight outta Compton” remark. They saw a BBC presenter tweet a picture of a chimpanzee and likening it to the couple’s son, Archie. Within the walls of the palace, Meghan suffered racist overture by Princess Michael of Kent who wore an offensive blackamoor brooch when she met Meghan for the first time.
The British youth are not in doubt that Meghan’s treatment and the blatant double standards in the approach towards her vs. Kate were coded language all about race. They acknowledge the subtle ways and not so subtle ways that their society has perpetuated its white privilege and racist ideology. Candid conversations about race and its historical shaping of their country is markedly different in the U.K. vs. the U.S. In the case of the U.S., those public discussions are not toned down and made palatable for white fragility and defensiveness, whether in the mainstream, or within dedicated spaces of academia, community, and organizational zones. The desire for genuine participation in such discussions about race and a willingness to listen and understand are more likely among the younger segment of British society. Hence, the impassioned speech by actor John Boyega at the Black Lives Matter protest in England. Or the honest take by actor Delroy Lindo in The Guardian’s recent article: British Racism Is As Violent and Virulent As America’s.
For these young students in America, coming of age at one of many critical times of their lives, they will step into social and political responsibility as voting-aged citizens. Meghan reminded them of what they had learned, skills they had embodied at the school and the conscience they had developed through Immaculate Heart’s teachings to know that Black Lives Matter. And she didn’t sugar coat the work necessary to make that world they deserve.
“We’re going to rebuild and rebuild and rebuild until it is rebuilt because when the foundation is broken so are we.”
That tenacity to do better, work harder underscore Meghan’s work ethic and approach to life’s paths. It is a wonderful feeling to know that she’s not done. She’s not daunted. There is work to be done. Our duchess will continue to inspire, uplift, and transform lives.
Meghan supports Black Lives Matter, see video below.
How to Support Black-Owned Businesses
There are various ways that you can help black-owned businesses to survive COVID and to show your support for the current Black Lives Matter movement sweeping the USA. A primary way to help is to divert your spending towards Black-owned businesses. But this is by no means the only way to ensure social solidarity amongst US citizens, and there are many paths forward. Some of these mechanisms are outlined below. Read more here.