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Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, speaks to graduates of her former high school: “George Floyd’s life mattered”

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FILE – In this Monday, March 9, 2020 file photo, Britain’s Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex receives flowers as she leaves after attending the annual Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London. A preliminary hearing in the Duchess of Sussex’s legal case against the Mail on Sunday and its parent company, Associated Newspapers, is set to take place in Britain’s High Court on Friday April 24, 2020 as Meghan challenges the publication of a letter she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

The Duchess of Sussex has shared her sadness about racial divisions in the United States, telling students at her former high school that she felt moved to speak out because the life of George Floyd mattered. Meghan told graduates at the Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles that she wrestled with what to tell them given the days of protests after Floyd’s death.

“I realized the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing, because George Floyd’s life mattered,” she said in a virtual address.

Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, died after a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck in Minneapolis on May 25, sparking nationwide unrest and protests. 

The former Meghan Markle, who has an African American mother and a white father, said the unrest reminded her of riots that took place in her hometown of Los Angeles after police officers were acquitted in the video-taped beating of another African-American, Rodney King.

“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,” she said. “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.”

The duchess’ video was first reported by the U.S. magazine Essence. 

This article is adapted from CBS News.

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