Meghan Markle Talks About Moving Back to U.S. Amid Racial Upheaval: 'Just Devastating'

Meghan Markle said "it's good to be home" after living in Canada and the U.K.

Meghan Markle says "it's good to be home" after her return to the U.S.

The Duchess of Sussex, 39, joined a virtual summit on Friday for a conversation with Emily Ramshaw, the cofounder and CEO of The 19th*, a "nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom reporting at the intersection of gender, politics and policy" — with Meghan serving as moderator and asking the questions.

Meghan also spoke about returning to her home state of California amid the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and others.

"To come back and to just see this state of affairs, I think at the onset, if I'm being honest, it was just devastating. It was so sad to see where our country was in that moment," she said. "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."

Meghan Markle
The 19th/ Youtube

She added that the peaceful protests and call for change have been energizing.

"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,” Meghan said. "And being part of using my voice in a way that I haven’t been able to of late. So, yeah, it’s good to be home.”

After stepping down from their royal roles earlier this year, Meghan and Prince Harry moved to California with their 1-year-old son, Archie. They recently relocated from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara.

"They have settled into the quiet privacy of their community since their arrival and hope that this will be respected for their neighbors, as well as for them as a family," a rep for the couple tells PEOPLE.

The Duke And Duchess Of Sussex Visit Ireland
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Gareth Fuller-Pool/Getty

For the virtual appearance, Meghan wore an orange ensemble with her hair in loose waves. She and fellow Northwestern alumna Ramshaw discussed the 19th*'s beginnings, with the Duchess of Sussex congratulating her on the journalistic endeavor.

"You're capturing this moment in such an extraordinary way...You did it," she said.

Meghan, who recently revealed that she plans to vote in the U.S. presidential election this year in an article for Marie Claire, also spoke with Ramshaw about the importance of voting. (The organization — named for the amendment that granted (some) women the right to vote in the United States and includes an asterisk in its title to represent the work still to be done — held their "The 19th Represents" virtual summit 100 years after the amendment was ratified in August 1920.)

"When I have these conversations about encouraging people to go out and vote, I think it's often challenging for men and women alike and certainly for people to remember just how hard it was to get the right to vote. And to be really aware and not taking that for granted," she said. "My husband for example — he's never been able to vote."

She added, "I really do hope what you're able to encourage and what we're able to see happen through The 19th* over the course of the next few months is that women understand that their voices are needed now more than ever — and the best way to exercise that is through voting."

Meghan also praised Ramshaw as a fellow mother making a difference in the world.

"I know what it's like with a toddler," the Duchess of Sussex said, referring to son Archie. "There's not a lot of time."

Archie Mountbatten-Windsor 1st birthday
Meghan Markle and Archie. The Duke of Sussex/@SaveChildrenUK

Meghan said in a statement to Glamour after the engagement was announced earlier this month, "The 19th*'s commitment to reporting and storytelling that lifts up those who are too often underrepresented in the media has never been more important. I'm looking forward to asking the cofounder what it means to build a media outlet with gender equity, diversity and community at its core."

Ramshaw shared on Twitter, "In the department of the surreal: The Duchess reached out to us; she said [the 19th's] vision of building a diverse and representative newsroom that covers women and other underserved people with nuance + empathy spoke to her immediately."

Ramshaw continued, "She asked if she could interview me on 'storytelling that lifts up those who are too often underrepresented in the media,' and 'what it means to build a media outlet with gender equity, diversity and community at its core.' "

Meghan's appearance closed out the five-day event which included other notable speakers such as Hillary Clinton, Kamala Harris, Melinda Gates and Meryl Streep.

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