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Behind The 19th*: Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, interviews Emily Ramshaw

By The 19th*

"Just devastating."

That's how Meghan Markle, The Duchess of Sussex, described returning to America in the midst of a national reckoning on race. But as peaceful protests proliferated after the killing of George Floyd, Meghan found inspiration.

Now, she said, "it's good to be home."

(Watch and read about The 19th* interview with Democratic VP contender U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, who spoke about Joe Biden's "audacity" in choosing a black woman as his running mate, during Friday's summit wrap up.)

Markle's remarks — made in one of her first sit-down conversations since returning to the United States — were part of a Friday interview for The 19th Represents Summit, a week of virtual conversations with leading women in politics and public policy.

For this conversation, Markle was in the interviewer's seat, talking with The 19th's co-founder and CEO, Emily Ramshaw, about the role of gender in media and why Ramshaw started the new nonprofit newsroom earlier this year. But Meghan did answer a few questions from Ramshaw, reflecting on her lived experiences as a biracial woman and mother coming home to a troubled nation.

"It was so sad to see where our country was in that moment," Markle said of her homecoming, which occurred just before the killings of Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. "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."

Markle and Harry, Duke of Sussex, announced in January that they would step away from their roles as senior royals and move to North America, escaping intense and often invasive attention from the British press. They settled in Meghan's native California in March.

"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," Markle 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."

During the conversation, Markle expressed enthusiasm for The 19th's mission and vision, remarking on the newsroom's launch during a pandemic: "You just took that jump and you took that leap of faith. And I think there's so much we can all learn from that, that in those moments where it might feel scary, you just need to trust your gut."

Markle also stressed her desire for more high-quality journalism, saying she and her husband routinely point to an "economy of attention" in media that rewards the salacious over the truthful. (She is currently involved in a lawsuit against Associated Newspapers, which published the contents of a private letter she sent to her father.)

"What's so fascinating, at least from my standpoint and my personal experience the past couple of years, is that the headline alone, the clickbait alone, makes an imprint," Markle said. "That is part of how we start to view the world, how we interact with other people."

With the November election fast-approaching, Markle stressed that voting is "incredibly important" to her; she said she's even been talking to feminist icon Gloria Steinem about it. Markle encouraged people not to take suffrage for granted, noting that her husband has never been able to vote."

People are craving a change," she said. "In the place we're all in right now, there's such a moment where people are starting to question the systems we've always believed in."

She mentioned The 19th's launch's parallel to next week's suffrage centennial, pointing out that the word "suffragette" was intended as a pejorative when it first appeared in a British newspaper more than a century ago.

"This term, coined by one man in 1906, has stuck as part of a movement," she explained.

"When you look at that, and look through that lens of the power of one person's influence in the media to be able to shape an entire movement or way of thinking … If women had their voice heard as equally, how different that would have been."


Austin FC wins big! Team makes history, takes No. 1 spot in 2-1 LAFC win

Over a year after its first loss, Austin FC was all smiles as it beat LAFC to take home the top MLS West spot Wednesday. (Austin FC/Twitter)

Over a year after they took the stage for the first time in Los Angeles, Austin FC returned to Banc of America Stadium to snatch the No. 1 spot from LAFC in a 2-1 statement win late Wednesday night.

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Comedy, live music, McConaughey Q&A: Events in Austin this weekend

(Paramount Theatre)

💈 Finley’s Pop-up Barbershop

Experience luxury grooming the old-fashioned way at a revival of the Driskill Hotel’s early 1900s barbershop put on by Austin-based Finley’s. The pop-up will offer men’s haircuts, beard trims, hot towels, neck massages and straight razor shaves. Click here to book an appointment.

9 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday-Sunday | The Driskill Hotel, 604 Brazos St.

😂 Moontower Comedy Presents Hannah Gadsby

Catch veteran Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby touring with her newest show, “Body of Work,” written while she pondered the effects of the pandemic. Tickets are still available in the orchestra section, starting at $60.

Doors at 6 p.m. Friday | The Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave.

🎤 Rex Orange County Who Cares? Tour

Alexander James O'Connor, AKA Rex Orange County, is returning to Austin to perform his newest album, “Who Cares?” Tickets are still available starting at $49 each.

Doors at 7:30 p.m. Friday | Germania Insurance Amphitheater, 9201 Circuit of The Americas Blvd.

⚾️ Round Rock Express vs. El Paso Chihuahuas

Catch our local Minor League team play against the El Paso Chihuahuas at home this week. Tickets start at $22.

Starting 7:05 p.m. Friday | Dell Diamond, 3400 E Palm Valley Blvd.

🎶 Bleachers—The 2022 Tour

Enjoy a night of indie-pop from Grammy-winning producer Jack Antonoff, whose stage name is Bleachers, from the intimacy of Stubb’s. Tickets are still available starting at $33.

Starting 7:05 p.m. Saturday | Stubb's Waller Creek Amphitheater, 801 Red River St.

🎸 The Peterson Brothers with Latasha Lee

Catch the groovy, Bastrop-born brothers are taking their rightful place on stage with soulstress Latasha Lee at Antone’s. Arrive early, seating fills up quickly! The show is 21+ and tickets start at $15.

Doors at 7 p.m. Saturday | Antone's Nightclub, 305 E 5th St.

🤠 Emmanuel Acho and Matthew McConaughey Q&A

Famous former Longhorns Emmanuel Acho and Matthew McConaughey are joining forces for a Q&A about catching greenlights and living a limitless life. Each ticket will get the holder a copy of Acho’s new book, “Illogical: Saying Yes to a Life Without Limits.” Tickets are $39 per person.

1:15 p.m. Sunday | LBJ Auditorium, 2313 Red River St.

⚽️ Austin FC vs. Orlando City

Austin FC is facing off against Orlando City at the biggest party in Austin, Q2 Stadium. Tickets are still available starting at $65 but ticketless Verde fans can still support at one of the many Pub Clubs.

7 p.m. Sunday | Q2 Stadium, 10414 Mc Kalla Pl.