Earlier this week, Prince Harry and the former Meghan Markle visited the men and women of Los Angeles' Homeboy Industries, a community social justice organization working to improve the lives of people formerly incarcerated or previously involved in gangs.
Photos of their Tuesday afternoon visit were shared on Homeboy Industries' social media pages on Wednesday.
Since 1988, the organization has provided essential social services and resources to former gang members, including counseling, addiction recovery support, job training and employment opportunities. Last year, Homeboy Industries supported 9,000 members of the Los Angeles community.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were just ‘Harry and Meghan’ to the homies," Father Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, told TODAY in a statement. "They rolled up their sleeves and deeply engaged with our workers in the Bakery and Café. It was immediate kinship and heartening in its mutuality.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined the Homies for an afternoon of cooking and conversation. Together, they prepared food for the #FeedHOPE program, which employs participants to provide meals to food-insecure seniors and youth during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It was remarkable to share our Feed Hope program with Harry and Meghan today," Mariana Enriquez, manager of Homegirl Café, told TODAY in a statement. "They are both down to earth and kind. The staff was honored they took the time to see us, hear us and walk on our journey today. We will never forget it.”
The duchess has been connected with the work of Homeboy Industries for some time now. Nearly 20 years ago, she and her mother had joined Boyle for a cooking workshop at Homeboy Industries.
Thomas Vozzo, the CEO of Homeboy Industries, told TODAY in a statement, “With their visit, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex saw the dignity and power that comes from having a job. At Homeboy, through our social enterprise businesses, people can continue to heal and they work, learning skills and changing their lives, changing their families and changing communities.”
Despite stepping back from their duties as senior royals and moving to Los Angeles, the couple has remained involved with various nonprofits and social causes. Earlier this month, the duchess wrote in the foreword of the annual review for Mayhew, an animal welfare charity, that she is renewing her sponsorship for pets in need in the name of her son, Archie.
"I renewed my sponsorship of a dog kennel in the name of our son, Archie, to create an interim home for a pet in need,'' she wrote. "I hope you will show them your support in whatever ways you can. When you do, you will be contributing not just to animal welfare but to the shared welfare of us all."
In addition to her support of animals, Meghan has also spoken out about the death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests that have taken place around the world.
"I wasn't sure what I could say to you,'' she said in her speech. "I wanted to say the right thing, and I was really nervous that I wouldn't or that it would get picked apart, and I realized 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 do not know."