Meghan Markle has opened up on her return to America and the inspiration she has drawn from peaceful anti-racism protests, spearheaded by the Black Lives Matter movement, that have taken place across the US in recent months.
In an interview for The 19th Represents Summit, a week of virtual conversations with leading women in politics and public policy, the Duchess of Sussex, who is biracial, said it was “just devastating” to return to her home country as a wave of nationwide anti-police brutality and anti-racism protests was ignited by the killing of African-American former convict George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis officers.
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Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, interviews @eramshaw, our co-founder and CEO, on The 19th's mission to create a transformative newsroom centered on gender equity. https://t.co/1HZNydmPDD
The demonstrations sometimes devolved into violent clashes between law enforcement officers and protesters, characterised by acts of vandalism and looting.
But while she was “sad to see where the country was in that moment”, Meghan Markle added:
“If there’s any silver lining in that, I would say that in the weeks after the murder of George Floyd, in the peaceful protests that you were seeing, in the voices that were coming out, in the way that people were actually owning their role … it shifted from sadness to a feeling of absolute inspiration, because I can see that the tide is turning.”
Underscoring that it was “good to be home”, Markle vowed to “use my voice in a way that I haven’t been able to of late”, as she conversed with Emily Ramshaw, co-founder and CEO of the 19th, a new non-profit newsroom focused on reporting about gender politics and policy.
“From my standpoint, it’s not new to see this undercurrent of racism and certainly unconscious bias, but I think to see the changes that are being made right now is really — it’s something I look forward to being a part of,” said the Duchess.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, who moved to the US this year after announcing in January that they would step back from senior roles in the royal family after publicly revealing their struggles under the intrusive media spotlight, have previously spoken out on the protests and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Duke of Sussex faced criticism after he reportedly said the history of the Commonwealth, which was formed amid the decolonisation of the British Empire in the 20th century, “must be acknowledged”, even if it's “uncomfortable”, during a video call with young leaders from the Queen's Commonwealth Trust in June.
After the Sussexes stepped down as senior working royals, Prince Harry relinquished his role as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador but the couple retained their posts as president and vice-president of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust.
Prince Harry, whose grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, is head of the Commonwealth, was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying:
“When you look across the Commonwealth, there is no way that we can move forward unless we acknowledge the past. So many people have done such an incredible job of acknowledging the past and trying to right those wrongs, but I think we all acknowledge there is so much more still to do.”
During the zoom call, Meghan Markle added:
“This is a moment of reckoning where so many people go: 'I need to own that. Maybe I didn't do the right thing there. I knew what I knew, but maybe it's a time to reset in a different way.'”