Prince Harry and the former Meghan Markle participated in a 20-minute virtual discussion with four young leaders and activists on July 1 as part of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust in which they spoke about the fight for equality and what type of actions white people can take to support people of color.
"I think this is a moment of reckoning where so many people go, 'You know, I need to own that. Maybe I didn't do the right thing there. I knew what I knew,''' Meghan said. "However, now it's time to reset in a different way, and I think both of us, it's part of the conversation that we've had quite a bit in our calls over the last few weeks surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement, for everyone to be part of this conversation."
"We can’t deny or ignore the fact that all of us have been educated to see the world differently," Harry said. "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 Duke and Duchess of Sussex are the president and vice president of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust, which was launched in 2018 to fund and connect young leaders who are working hard to change the world.
Mike Omoniyi, the founder and CEO of the U.K.-based Common Sense Network, said during the conversation that being an ally to people of color has to more than just "using hashtags online, sharing books you're reading about black culture or just posting on social media that you're at a march."
The duchess, who has often spoken of her experiences growing up biracial, agreed that change has to come in people's everyday lives.
"It’s not just in the big moments, it’s in the quiet moments where racism and unconscious bias lies and hides and thrives," she said. "And it's those nuances that I think makes it confusing for a lot of people to understand the role that they play in that, either passively or actively, but I think even more so passively.
"In people's complacency, they're complicit, and that is the shift that we're seeing. It's not enough to just be a bystander and saying, 'It wasn't me.' And that's what I think was very much manifested in what you're feeling from people's outpouring surrounding the murder of George Floyd. It wasn't that this wasn't always happening, it's that it's come to a head at a time where people just said, 'Enough.'"
The royal couple agreed that progress is going to require some difficult moments.
"When you look across the Commonwealth, there is no way that we can move forward unless we acknowledge the past ... but I think we all acknowledge that there is so much more still to do," Harry said. "It's not gonna be easy and in some cases it's not gonna be comfortable, but it needs to be done because guess what, everybody benefits. I only see hope and optimism in the fact that we can only do this together."
Meghan spoke last month about how people need to make their voices heard in the wake of George Floyd's death when she delivered a speech to the graduating class of her high school alma mater in Los Angeles.
She acknowledged that bringing about racial justice will involve arduous work, but it will benefit everyone.
"We have to in this moment in time say, 'We’re going to have to be a little uncomfortable right now,' because it’s only in pushing through that discomfort that we get to the other side of this and find the place where a high tide raises all ships,'' she said. "Equality does not put anyone on the back foot, it puts us all on the same footing, which is a fundamental human right and that's what we're talking about here."