Meghan Markle joined a virtual couch party for a cause on Thursday.
The Duchess of Sussex kicked off the “When All Women Vote” virtual hangout, talking about what it means to vote in the upcoming election, remembering the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, voter suppression and more.
“When I think about voting and why this is so exceptionally important for all of us, I would frame it as ‘We vote to honor those who came before us and to protect who will come after us,’” the duchess said in the beginning of her speech. “Because that’s what community is all about. And that is specifically what this election is all about.”
The event was organized by the United States of Women and When We All Vote, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that aims to increase voter turnout and “close the race and age voting gap by changing the culture around voting.” Former first lady Michelle Obama helped launch the organization in 2018 with celebrity co-chairs Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monae, Tom Hanks, Chris Paul, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.
Meghan noted that there are only 75 days until Election Day, which feels “so very close ― and yet there’s so much work to be done in that amount of time because we all know what’s at stake this year.”
The duchess said that she was inspired by those on the call who are “mobilized and energized to see the change that we all need and deserve.”
She also took a moment to remember the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. The amendment, which guaranteed that states couldn’t bar people from voting due to their sex, still left the door open for states to disenfranchise women, especially women of color — their right to vote wasn’t ensured until after the Voting Rights Act passed in 1965.
“As we look at things today, though it had taken decades longer for women to get the right to vote ― even today we are watching so many women in different communities who are marginalized still struggling to see that right come to fruition,” Meghan said, adding that continued voter suppression is ”all the more reason we need each of you to be out there supporting each other and understand that this fight is worth fighting.”
The duchess acknowledged that while there are a lot of problems facing us in the world today, it’s even more of a reason to get out there, vote and achieve “the impact that we all need and really want.”
“We can and must do everything we can to ensure that all women have their voices heard. Because at this juncture, if we aren’t part of the solution, we are part of the problem,” she said. “If you’re not going out there and voting, then you’re complicit. If you’re complacent, you’re complicit.”
“We can make the difference in this election,” the duchess said, before thanking participants and signing off. “And we will make the difference in this election.”
Fellow participants included Valerie Jarrett, the former senior adviser to President Barack Obama; Samantha Barry, editor-in-chief of Glamour; “Community” actress Yvette Nicole Brown; and DJ Diamond Kuts.
Over the past few weeks, the Duchess of Sussex has been actively encouraging Americans to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming 2020 election.
Meghan participated in a Marie Claire feature, published earlier this month, that explained why she’s voting.
“I know what it’s like to have a voice, and also what it’s like to feel voiceless,” the duchess said. “I also know that so many men and women have put their lives on the line for us to be heard. And that opportunity, that fundamental right, is in our ability to exercise our right to vote and to make all of our voices heard.”
During an interview with Emily Ramshaw, co-founder and CEO of The 19th*, Meghan said that when she’s had “conversations about encouraging people to go out and vote,” noting that it’s “challenging ... for people to remember just how hard it was for people to get the right to vote.”
Technically, there is no law barring members of the British royal family from voting, but the queen must remain politically neutral.
Prior to becoming a member of the royal family, Meghan denounced President Donald Trump as “divisive” and “misogynistic” during an appearance on “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” before the 2016 election.
As for whether the duchess might have political ambitions of her own now that she’s back in the states, HuffPost spoke with Carolyn Durand, co-author of the bombshell Sussex biography, “Finding Freedom,” last week.
Though the biographer said she wouldn’t make a prediction about Meghan running for office, she said the royal is “an incredible role model for women and for young people.”
“She’s an incredibly eloquent and inspirational speaker and she has the capacity to really inspire people and get involved and I think that’s what we need in our country right now,” Durand said, adding it would be “a wonderful moment” if she decided to run, but “wouldn’t venture a guess.”
“I think right now [Meghan and Harry] want to focus on the family and really look to the future ― setting up their Archewell nonprofit,” the biographer said. “Maybe in the future, we’ll see that; maybe we won’t.”