Meghan Markle surprises Boys and Girls Club with a phone call

Meghan Markle has been ‘checking in’ with the charity supporting a black woman, 18, who says she was set on fire by four white men in an alleged hate crime – and is offering ‘genuine love and support’

  • Meghan Markle, 38, spoke with Althea Bernstein, an 18-year-old Black woman who was the victim of an alleged hate crime in Wisconsin last week 
  • Duchess got in touch through president of the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County 
  • He has now revealed Meghan surprised him with ‘check in’ phone call yesterday
  • Said he was ‘blown away’ by the Duchess, who spoke about ‘plans she supports’

Meghan Markle has been ‘checking in’ for updates and to offer ‘genuine and love and support’ to a biracial woman who is said to have recently survived an alleged hate crime.

Last week, the Duchess of Sussex, 38, spent 40 minutes on the phone to Althea Bernstein, an 18-year-old EMT from Wisconsin, as an assault is being investigated as a hate crime after she was allegedly burned by lighter fluid thrown at her and ignited by a white man. 

Michael Johnson, the CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County, who has been in touch with Althea, has now explained how the Duchess of Sussex, 38, has continued to check in with him on how the teenager is doing.

He posted on Facebook yesterday: ‘I am blown away by Meghan Markle! She called me again today while my wife and kids were in the car and said, “Hey Michael, this is Meghan, I am just checking in.”‘

Meghan Markle, 38, has been ‘checking in’ with Boys and Girls Club staff and talking about ‘the plans she supports’, according to Michael Johnson Pictured, during a video address to leavers at the Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles in which she shared her ‘absolute devastation’ at racial divisions and the death of George Floyd in the US

He went on: ‘We talked for about 10 minutes about a lot of things including Althea and her wellbeing. 

‘We also talked about some plans she supports but I can’t share yet…so stay tuned.’

He added: ‘I love how poised and down to earth she is, her passion, her commitment to children and how she is following up with genuine love and support.

‘Meghan, you are amazing and if you ever wanted to work for Boys and Girls Club in Wisconsin we would hire you in a minute.’  

Last week, Meghan Markle spoke with Althea Bernstein as an assault is being investigated as a hate crime after she was allegedly burned by lighter fluid thrown at her and ignited by a white man

Last week, Michael revealed how the Duchess had reached out to him in order to contact Althea about the crime.  

Speaking to Channel 3000, he explained: ‘Her and Meghan talked about the importance of self care and allowing herself to heal.’

‘And she applauded her for the way that she responded and pretty much said, “Hey, Michael, give me her cellphone number. I want to stay in touch. And let me know when you want me to come back and talk to people in Wisconsin.”’

Speaking of how Althea is doing, Michael continued: ‘She’s struggling. ‘It’s a challenge for her. It’s very, very emotional. I talked to her three or four times today, and I’ll tell you Meghan lifted her spirits.’

Michael Johnson, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County, has revealed how the Duchess has continued to ‘check in’ to talk about things including Althea and her future plans

Taking to Twitter, he penned: ‘On the phone with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle the Duchess of Sussex.’

‘Prince Harry shared that young people voices matter and Meghan has agreed to talk with girls in Wisconsin and we will be scheduling that soon. Thank you for caring!’

The incident occurred at about 1am on Wednesday in Madison, Wisconsin, as Althea was driving to her brother’s house.

She had stopped at a red light with her driver’s side window down when she heard someone yell out ‘n****r.’ She looked around and saw four white men by her car.

It comes after Meghan and Prince Harry, 35, spoke with Michael last week about working with the people of Winconsin in the future 

One sprayed liquid on Althea’s face and neck and threw a flaming lighter at her, she told police.

According to a police incident report, the attackers used a spray bottle to spray lighter fluid on the teenager’s face.

Althea described the four white men to Madison365 as ‘classic Wisconsin frat boys.’

Two were allegedly wearing all black, and the other two were wearing jeans and floral shirts.

Over the last month, groups of far-right counter-protesters wearing Hawaiian shirts have disrupted Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

Althea had stopped at a red light with her driver’s side window down when she heard someone yell out ‘n****r.’ She looked around and saw four white men by her car. Pictured, her injuries

Althea believes all four men were intoxicated during the incident.

She said she pulled forward, put out the flames and drove home where her mother encouraged her to go to the UW Hospital emergency department.

Althea was treated for second- and third-degree burns, and told Madison365 that she was put through a decontamination routine to get the lighter fluid off her skin because i it was continuing to burn her.

‘They had to pretty much scrub the skin off, which was extremely painful,’ she said.

‘Burn pain is something I can’t even really describe. I don’t know how to describe it. It was horrible.’

Althea will need to repeat the procedure every few days and, once she heals, will have to undergo plastic surgery to repair the damage.

Police say they are looking at surveillance footage to see if any part of the attack was captured on camera.

Althea said her happy childhood memories of growing up in Madison have been overshadowed by the memories of this attack.

‘I never really knew someone could hate you just by looking at you,’ she said.

‘They didn’t know me. I didn’t know them. I was just driving my car and minding my own business.’

In spite of all this, she told Madison365 that she’s glad the men didn’t attack someone more vulnerable,

‘I’m glad it was me, and not someone like a pregnant woman, or a child, or someone who doesn’t have the health care that I do or the support system that I do,’ Althea said.

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