Keke Palmer took part in a peaceful protest in Hollywood against police brutality in honor of George Floyd on Tuesday.
"You have to pay attention to what's going on," the 26-year-old reasoned. "You have people in here who need your help and when you all stand together with the community, with society, to stop the governmental oppression, period, we need you."
During an appearance on "Good Morning America" on Wednesday, Palmer shared what led her to plead with several guardsmen to join the protesters in demanding justice.
"I wanted to just bring as much awareness as we all can to the injustices that are going on in America," Palmer told "GMA" co-anchor Robin Roberts. "Being there with everyone, we were all just so inspired and, empowered I think is the word."
In the viral video, Palmer can be heard saying, "March with us. March beside us. Let the revolution be televised, march beside us and show us that you're here for us. Make history with us." This call to action prompted many other protesters to also urge the guardsmen to show their support.
"Buildings can be rebuilt, but once lives are taken, they're gone."@KekePalmer speaks out on asking National Guardsman to march with her and why it's important to her to be on the front lines of the protests over the death of George Floyd. https://t.co/GVhFAoPK2S pic.twitter.com/q14UYjq9tN— Good Morning America (@GMA) June 3, 2020
Palmer said the encounter happened "randomly."
"I was just talking to the people that I was marching with. I just posed the question of 'Why are they not with us? Why are they not able to be with us?'" she explained. "Here we are marching in peace and with purpose, and I'm sure many of them feel the same way as we do. I wanted us to just unite as human beings above all."
The guardsmen offered to walk alongside the crowd through their assigned patrol area after Palmer's plea, but the "Hustlers" actress insisted that it would send a stronger message if the platoon marched the full route with the protesters. However, one unnamed guardsman clarified that they cannot abandon their assigned patrol area, and it's their duty to protect the surrounding businesses from looters.
Palmer responded that she felt "at a loss." The guardsmen then obliged another protester's request to "take a knee," which Palmer could be heard saying is "not enough" in the video.
"Though the kneeling -- it can be seen as a walk in the same direction -- we all can also see that just moments after in some of these cities where we've seen the kneeling, we've seen the teargassing and everything, the chaos afterwards," Palmer shared on "GMA."
"The reality is we have a president that with every tweet incites divisiveness," she continued. "Some would even say, a situation where our military has orders to unleash on its citizens. Obviously everyone has a choice to make in working for the government, whether you are a policeman or working with the National Guard or politics, I think I as a citizen want to know what side of history you're trying to be on? Is there a person in that uniform?"
"I want to know that the people that are in these powerful positions of saving or taking a life, I want to know they're with the citizens and committed to taking a stand against the system and injustices," she added. "If we are unified no matter who you are or what you're wearing we can create change. Buildings can be rebuilt, but once lives are taken, they're gone."
This is the thing. The underlying message has been "You don't matter. Your opinion doesn't matter. Your LIFE doesn't matter." and that has been communicated through the systematic bondage AND the outright VIOLENT crimes and dismissal of black lives.— Keke Palmer (@KekePalmer) May 30, 2020
Palmer said she wants to emphasize the importance of voting, using your voice and "dismantling the current system" to the younger generation.
"The conversation isn't just if you are or aren't racist," she said. "The conversation is now -- how deep is your interest in eradicating racism and what are the actions that you're willing to take to systemically change the inequalities?"