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Meghan Markle shares powerful message in support of Black Lives Matter movement

The Duchess of Sussex spoke from her Los Angeles home

Danielle Stacey

The Duchess of Sussex has recorded a powerful message in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Speaking from her new home in Los Angeles, Meghan addressed the graduating 2020 class at her old school, the Immaculate Heart High School. In a video played as part of a virtual graduation ceremony, she said: "Now you get to be part of rebuilding. And I know sometimes people say 'How many times to do have to rebuild?' But we are going to rebuild and rebuild and rebuild until it is rebuilt, because when the foundation is broken so are we.

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WATCH Meghan's passionate speech to graduates of Immaculate Heart High School

"You are going to lead with love, you are going to lead with compassion, you are going to use your voice. You are going to use your voice in a stronger way than you've ever been able to because most of you are 18 or are going to turn 18 so you're going to vote."

She continued: "You are going to have empathy for those who don't see the world through the same lens that you do because as diverse and vibrant and open-minded as I know that the teachings of the Immaculate Heart are, I know that you know that Black Lives Matter."

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WATCH as Meghan recalls the LA riots of 1992

Meghan added: "What is happening in our country and in our state and in our hometown of LA, has been absolutely devastating. 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, which was first shared exclusively with the African-American female US magazine Essence, was filmed on Meghan's phone. The Duchess had planned to share a heartfelt congratulations to the class of 2020, who have worked so hard over the past four years, by sharing some words of support, encouragement, and offering some memories of her own time at the school. However, in the video message she shared, Meghan felt compelled to directly address and speak to the young women at the all-girls Catholic school about what's happening in their country right now around the killing of George Floyd - as well as what's been happening over many, many years and many, many generations to countless other black Americans.

READ: Meghan Markle talks openly about racial abuse in unearthed video: WATCH

It's not the first time the former actress has spoken about racism in public. Earlier this week, an old video of Meghan discussing her experience of racism resurfaced online. The Suits star took part in a campaign video in 2012 in which she spoke about her hopes for her future children and her love of LA.

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In the clip, Meghan can be seen wearing a white T-shirt emblazoned with the words: 'I won't stand for racism.' She begins by saying: "My name's Meghan Markle and I'm here because I think it’s a really important campaign to be a part of. For me I think it really hits a personal note. I'm bi-racial, most people can’t tell what I'm mixed with and so much of my life has felt like being a fly on the wall. And so some of the slurs I've heard or the really offensive jokes, or the names, it's just hit me in a really strong way. And, you know, a couple of years ago I heard someone call my mum the N word. So I think for me, beyond being personally affected by racism, just to see the landscape of what our country is like right now, certainly the world, and to want things to be better."

The actress concluded the video by saying: "I am really proud of my heritage on both sides. I'm really proud of where I've come from and where I'm going. But yeah, I hope that by the time I have children that people are even more open-minded to how things are changing, and that having a mixed world is what it's all about. I mean certainly it makes it a lot more beautiful and a lot more interesting."

MORE: The Diana Award's Tessy Ojo: 'The race conversation needs to happen in all households'

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Harry and Meghan married in May 2018

In 2015, she also wrote an article for American Elle magazine in which she described her experiences of growing up mixed-race. She wrote about the gift her parents bought her one Christmas, saying: "When I was about seven, I had been fawning over a boxed set of Barbie dolls. It was called The Heart Family and included a mom doll, a dad doll, and two children. This perfect nuclear family was only sold in sets of white dolls or black dolls. I don't remember coveting one over the other, I just wanted one.

"On Christmas morning, swathed in glitter-flecked wrapping paper, there I found my Heart Family: a black mum doll, a white dad doll, and a child in each colour. My dad had taken the sets apart and customised my family."

In the same article, Meghan also spoke about creating an identity for herself instead of letting others define it for her, writing: "So you make a choice: continue living your life feeling muddled in this abyss of self-misunderstanding, or you find your identity independent of it. You push for colour-blind casting, you draw your own box".