Keke Palmer on stage

Keke Palmer Explains Why the Younger Generation Needs to Vote: ‘You Have to Become What the System Can’t Change’ [EXCLUSIVE]

Photo Credit: Marcus Ingram/Getty Images

Today marks one of the most crucial elections to take place in American history as citizens across the country flock to the poles to fight (or support) the very chaotic and controversial Donald Trump era.

A record number of women and women of color (256 and 100-plus, respectively) are running for office in the wake of the #MeToo movement; Trump’s push for a wall along the U.S./Mexican border and child separation; watching immigrant children get locked up and held in cages; fighting for prison and gun reform; and an emerging nation-wide race war.  While the masses are encouraging everyone to vote, the youth educating themselves about the election and what it means to vote seems to be at the forefront of public’s mind – including celebrities.

Actress and singer Keke Palmer is one of those people.

In a very candid conversation, a now 25-year-old Palmer stressed the importance and need for the youth to understand the power of the vote and the laws the chance the chage.

Why it’s so important to get out and vote in Chicago and the state of Illinois.

A lot of places in Chicago could stand to be changed. Chicago’s in the Midwest, and a lot of people – like my grandmother – they came from the South because it was supposedly not as racist as living in the South. I think in a place like Illinois, it’s important for the youth to understand the old laws so we can try to figure out a way to fix [them] because the reality is we have different views.

keke palmer go votePhoto Credit: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

What the older generation can do to encourage the youth to get to the polls.

We need to connect with one another because we’re not kids anymore. I don’t wanna blame parents and I don’t wanna blame school systems…but I think there’s a disconnect in the youth understanding what it really means to vote. When I think about me — and I was born in 1993 — when I was in school, all I got was ‘vote for the president and you can make a change’…but there’s a whole other situation that can come in and say, ‘We got you.’ Those things were put in place in a time where Black people couldn’t even really vote. There are so many things that were put in place, but it was in a time where Blacks were in the field and working on the plantation.

The issue with urging people of color to get to the polls.

That doesn’t make you feel safe when you have laws that are still in place that were put in place in a time when you weren’t even seen as a full person. It makes young people feel like, ‘Well damn! What do I do if I’m working 24/7, I can barely pay for my car, I can barely keep up the insurance on my car, I can barely afford a home…that’s heavy for a young person to become an adult and realize that you hear people say, “make America great again,” but you know your cultural history in your country has never been the best.

Why these midterm elections are about more than just voting.

We have to get out and vote, but we also have to understand the things that are being put in place to know how to vote. We don’t even know that it’s become a corporatism. It’s like the corporations are running everything, and we feel as individuals that there’s not an individual way to solve [the issues]. It’s about conversing and it’s about educating ourselves on what all these back problems are and what’s the bottom line about why these issues can’t be changed. I’m not a genius. I don’t know all those problems, but aside from ‘You need to vote,’ it’s also ‘You need to know the laws.’ There are laws that should be changed that I feel are based on the fact that Black, white, gay, straight have a voice and they deserve to be heard because how some of these laws are lined up. It makes people feel like ‘You don’t even give a f—k about me.’

Chicago - go votePhoto Credit: Karega Kofi Moyo / Contributor

Why many have said Keke should run for an office one day.

I don’t know everything, I just think I can communicate a lot of the things everybody already knows and what everybody already feels. I put on my Instagram not too long ago that at the end of the day — in America, sometimes — you feel like you can’t ever really own anything, and that also makes young people hopeless. People lose hope because they feel like they don’t matter: ‘You’re killing my brothers and sisters; you’re taking the hormones away from my daughter;  you’re taking a grandparent away from their grandchildren,’ and that’s the kind of thing that really puts people in a position to want to give up.

What the youth need to do.

You have to become what the system can’t change. That doesn’t make you feel safe when you have laws that are still in place that were put in place in a time when you weren’t even seen as a full person.

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