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Keke Palmer challenges National Guard to march with L.A. protesters: ‘Protect us’

Keke Palmer
Video of Keke Palmer talking to National Guardsmen during a Hollywood protest has gone viral.
(Evan Agostini / Invision / Associated Press)

Keke Palmer is being hailed as a hero after a recent video of the actress inviting the National Guard to march with protesters in Hollywood went viral.

In the video, tweeted Tuesday by NBC News correspondent Gadi Schwartz, Palmer can be seen passionately urging National Guardsmen to leave their post and join the peaceful protest demanding justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other black victims of racial violence.

“Once ‘the looting starts, the shooting starts?’” Palmer says, quoting a controversial tweet from President Trump that has been flagged for “glorifying violence” by Twitter. “You have a president talking about the 2nd Amendment as a use for people to come out here and use firearms against the people that are protesting. This is the messages we’re seeing.

“I don’t know if you on social media, because the news don’t tell you everything, but you have to pay attention to what’s going on. ... We have a president that’s trying to incite a race war. And when the borders are closed, we can’t leave. You have people in here that need your help. This is when you and y’all stand together with the community, with society, to stop ... the governmental oppression. Period. We need you.”

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When one guardsman says he agrees with Palmer, the “Hustlers” star calls for action.

“So then march with us. March beside us,” she says. “Let the revolution be televised. March beside us, and show us that you’re here for us. Make history with us, please. ... Come on. Be the change. Do it. Do it, please. Do it, please. We are good people. March with us.”

As “March with us!” chants echo through the crowd, one guardsman standing face-to-face with Palmer says, “I’ll make you a deal.”

“I can’t leave this post. I will march through this street with you guys,” he says. “I will march from this intersection to that intersection, but I have to patrol this area.”

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Get live updates from Los Angeles Times journalists as they report on protests across the U.S. after the death of George Floyd while in police custody.

“Patrol?” Palmer repeats. “What is there to patrol, man? March with us. It would send a huge message. ... Protect us. Y’all, march with us. March around like we just did. Do that march with us, y’all. Stand beside us.”

The guardsman then reiterates his duty to “hold this intersection,” but Palmer stands her ground.

“No, you don’t because you the protector,” she says. “You can’t patrol yourself. If it’s you that’s supposed to be patrolling us, then walk with us.”

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Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson, J. Cole, Ariana Grande and more celebrities protested Saturday the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

When the guardsmen still don’t move, citing a responsibility to safeguard surrounding businesses, Palmer bows her head in disappointment: “I’m at a loss. It’s not enough.”

Eventually, a handful of guardsmen begin kneeling on the ground at the request of another demonstrator in an effort to compromise. Cheers and applause erupt from some of the protesters, but Palmer isn’t impressed.

Shows of solidarity from authorities who kneel at protests have drawn mixed reactions. Some appear to appreciate the gesture, while others are reminded of ousted Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with third-degree murder after kneeling on Floyd’s neck.

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“I don’t know. That ain’t enough for me,” Palmer says in the video. “That ain’t enough for me.”

Palmer’s actions garnered high praise on Twitter, and the original clip has amassed more than 370,000 likes since Tuesday afternoon. More than 130,000 have retweeted the footage, including fellow performer Nick Jonas, who declared, “KEKE FOR PRESIDENT.”

Several other celebrities, including Halsey, Tessa Thompson, Kendrick Sampson, Michael B. Jordan, Nick Cannon, J. Cole and Ariana Grande, have also taken to the streets in support of #BlackLivesMatter.


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