Meghan Markle is back in the United States, making Montecito, Calif., her home with husband Prince Harry and their 1-year-old son Archie, which means that the Duchess of Sussex is gearing up to vote in the 2020 presidential election. And while she has her concerns about voter turnout, she tells Gloria Steinem just why she’s feeling “inspired” in an exclusive conversation for MAKERS.
“It’s wonderful to just be in your company,” Markle tells Steinem, “to learn so much, and to feel inspired to be home. But also to help people remember why it’s so important to vote.”
The 39-year-old shared that she and Steinem have had conversations in the past where they’ve discussed the importance of voting, problems that voters face, and even the vital role of Black voters in the Democratic Party. Of the latter, Steinem notes, “we’ve been rescued by women of color in all of our recent elections because of a vote of conscience and compassion.”
“I’m so excited to see that kind of representation. You know, for me, being biracial — growing up, whether it was a doll or a person in office, you need to see someone who looks like you in some capacity,” she says. “As many of us believe, you can only be what you can see. And in the absence of that, how can you aspire to something greater than what you see in your own world? I think maybe now we’re starting to break through in a different way.”
Still, Markle and Steinem share concerns about voter turnout. Steinem says, “If you don’t vote you don’t exist.” Markle says she “been really concerned about voter suppression.”
“We can already see all the different challenges that we’re facing. I had the chance to speak with Stacey Abrams about this to try to get a better understanding of what to do. For example, if you’re a person of color and you’re in line, for potentially hours on end, and during that time someone tries to intimidate you to tell you that you should get out of line because you might be under surveillance — or any number of intimidation tactics that are so scary,” Markle explains. “And then you think, ‘You know, it’s not worth it.’ You decide to step out of line and relinquish your right to vote. That’s bad enough, but then there’s a ripple effect because whoever is in the back of the line says, ‘Whatever they did to them … I don’t want that to happen to me.’ That, I think, is so frightening. But I wonder how we circumvent that and how we get people to feel empowered.”
The MAKERS conversation between the two women is one of Markle’s efforts to encourage Americans to vote in November.
“It’s the only place where we are all equal: in the voting booth,” Steinem says.
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