Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Talk Racial Injustice with Queen's Commonwealth Trust Youth Leaders
"It's in the quiet moments where racism and unconscious bias lies and thrives," Meghan Markle said while talking to young people from the Queen's Commonwealth Trust
In response to the international Black Lives Matter movement, sparked by the killing of George Floyd, the couple recently joined in on a video conversation about the fight for equality with young leaders from across the world linked to the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.
The QCT has held weekly discussions about fairness, justice and equality, and on July 1, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined the video conference where challenging unconscious bias was a key part of the conversation.
Harry, 35, serves as president of the QCT while Meghan, 38, is vice-president — positions they have continued since their departure from their frontline royal roles.
In the video conversation, Meghan and Harry spoke with Chrisann Jarrett, QCT Trustee and co-founder and co-CEO of We Belong; Alicia Wallace, director of Equality Bahamas; Mike Omoniyi, founder and CEO of The Common Sense Network; and Abdullahi Alim who leads the World Economic Forum's Global Shapers network of emerging young leaders in Africa and the Middle East.
“We can’t deny or ignore the fact that all of us have been educated to see the world differently," Harry said during the conversation. "However, once you start to realize that there is that bias there, then you need to acknowledge it, you need to do the work to become more aware … so that you can help stand up for something that is so wrong and should not be acceptable in our society today.”
The couple then shared their hope for a better future driven by young people and a new generation of leaders.
“It’s not just in the big moments, it’s in the quiet moments where racism and unconscious bias lies and thrives," Megan explained. "It makes it confusing for a lot of people to understand the role that they play in that, both passively and actively.”
Implying the British colonial past had a role in the history of injustice, Harry said: “When you look across the Commonwealth, there is no way that we can move forward unless we acknowledge the past ... We all acknowledge there’s so much more still to do. It’s not going to be easy and in some cases, it’s not going to be comfortable ... And guess what, everybody benefits.”
Harry then added that the Black Lives Matter movement has allowed for people to recognize "the wrong" in the world, adding that " this is the moment when people are starting to be listened to.”
Meghan continued on to say that the couple would do “everything from our end,” to help the young people — with Harry stressing his age, adding that it was in the hands of the younger generation now.
“I’m aging – I’m 35,” he said.
“That’s not aging,” his wife interjected with a laugh. “Keep up the incredible work and know that we are right there with you, standing in solidarity," Meghan then told the QCT members. "We’re going to get there … and we have a lot of renewed faith and energy in that having had this conversation.”
QCT leaders on the call also shared their thoughts throughout the conversation.
“We all need to be in this for the long run. This is not a hashtag," Jarrett said. "It’s about being persistent with the demand that change must come and we’re not going to stop until it comes.”
Omoniyi then challenged people to go beyond social media in their actions. “After pressing send online, people need to roll up their sleeves and do the work ... There’s a whole host of things that it means to be an ally but the impetus has to be humility, kindness and a willingness to learn new things.”