The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have joined young leaders to discuss fairness, justice and equal rights, with Harry telling them: “There is no turning back now, everything is coming to a head.”
Harry and Meghan both took part in the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust video call which formed one of the network’s weekly sessions set up in response to the growing Black Lives Matter movement.
The duke, who last week outlined his personal commitment to tackling institutional racism, warned that past wrongs needed to be acknowledged across the Commonwealth in order to move forward, while Meghan said people needed to push through an “uncomfortable” phase towards equality.
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The couple, who were speaking from LA, joined Chrisann Jarrett, co-founder of We Belong, which is led by young people who migrated to the UK, and Alicia Wallace, director of Equality Bahamas.
Also on the July 1 chat were Mike Omoniyi, founder of The Common Sense Network and Abdullahi Alim, who leads the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers.
The duke told them: “When you look across the Commonwealth, there is no way that we can move forward unless we acknowledge the past.
“So many people have done such an incredible job of acknowledging the past and trying to right those wrongs, but I think we all acknowledge there is so much more still to do.
“It’s not going to be easy and in some cases it’s not going to be comfortable, but it needs to be done, because, guess what, everybody benefits.”
Former Suits star Meghan spoke of how equality was a fundamental human right.
“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.”
Harry addresses the issue of unconscious bias, sharing his own perspective.
“We can’t deny or ignore the fact that all of us have been educated to see the world differently,” he said.
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“However, once you start to realise 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.”
After the Sussexes stepped down as a senior working royals, Harry had to leave his role as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador.
But he and Meghan retained their posts as president and vice-president of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.
Harry told those taking part: “This change is needed and it’s coming.”
He added: “The optimism and the hope that we get is from listening and speaking to people like you, because there is no turning back now, everything is coming to a head.
“Solutions exist and change is happening far quicker than it ever has done before.”