Always put others’ needs above your fears. That is the advice a member of the British Royal Family wished to pass on during a video address to members of the graduating class at her alma mater.
The speaker was Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex. And the advice, she said, came from one of her own teachers at Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles.
Markle, who married Prince Harry in 2018, delivered the six-minute address by video June 3. She said she had never thought about the advice, which came from her theology teacher Maria Pollia, as much as during the past week, as protests erupted over the death of George Floyd, a black man in police custody in Minneapolis.
But the graduates she addressed have an opportunity — as well as the skills and moral formation — to play an important part in rebuilding society in the wake of civil conflict.
“You are going to lead with love and compassion and use your voice in a stronger way than you have ever been able to,” she said, telling the graduates they also would “have empathy for those who don’t see the world through the same lens that you do.”
She said she was confident that her fellow alumnae believe that black lives matter, because the faculty who taught them are “diverse, vibrant and open-minded.”
She also noted that they are or soon will be 18 and encouraged them to vote.
“I know sometimes people say, ‘How many times do we need to rebuild?’” she said. “Well, you know what? We are going to rebuild and rebuild and rebuild until it is rebuilt. Because when the foundation is broken, so are we.”
Markle, who is biracial, grew up in the Los Angeles area and graduated from Immaculate Heart in 1999. After she and Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, announced that they were stepping back from their roles with the royal family, they moved to Los Angeles with their son, Archie.
Catholic News Service explained that Markle attended the school from seventh through 12th grade and was chosen as a Kairos retreat leader during her senior year. She also took part in the school’s theater productions.