Keke Palmer is getting political once more.
The star – who once played a fashion company vice president in Nickelodeon’s True Jackson, VP – is the new spokesperson of the Respect My Vote! campaign, PEOPLE can announce exclusively.
“With the election date coming around the corner and as a young adult, a lot of the things going on the world right now are really my responsibility just as much as they are the next guy’s,” the Scream Queens actress, 22, tells PEOPLE. “Being a public figure and someone in the industry, I want to be able to make my career about something other than just my work – helping get my generation, my peers, involved in learning how to govern themselves.”
Palmer has become more and more interested in her civic responsibility over the years, and she first exercised her right to vote for President Obama in the 2012 election, when she was 18. Seeing – and eventually using her vote to reelect – a black man in office was particularly important for the “I Don’t Belong to You” singer growing up.
“I think it shows our world is changing. It’s opening up people to new ideas,” she says. “I remember as a kid, I asked my dad if he could be the president. What I really meant was, ‘Can a black person be president?’ That happened – and not only was he a black man, but he was a great man and a great president to us and made a lot of amazing things happen.”
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“It’s cool to see that we could have a woman as president,” she says. “People are open to something new. The fact that Hillary is a big candidate shows that, so I just love that we’re seeing that things are different.”
Still, Palmer says she hasn’t decided who she’ll be voting for yet. But she stresses the importance of getting to know what candidates for offices – from the White House and Congress to local leadership – stand for.
“I’m definitely more of a liberal, so I support anyone doing things or providing services for the community. I’m a person that believes there’s no way we can keep up this ‘every man for himself’ thing,” she says.
Continues Palmer: “It’s all about opportunity. You can’t tell me that every man for himself because they have the same opportunity. No! Everybody definitely has freedom of perspective and thought, but it’s not fair to say that opportunities are equal when we have kids growing up in areas where their school systems are teaching them ass-backwards. That kid already has a disadvantage under someone from a great area with a great school system that encourages them to believe in themselves.”
Similarly, the star is concerned with candidates’ position on arts education.
“I definitely think creative arts should be mandatory in schools. So many school systems don’t have the resources to allow the children to study music and study drama,” she says. “There’s so many things that are going on in communities with poverty that the kids need and deserve to be able to create – to find and discover their passion outside of the normal curriculum. Kids need to be encouraged individual thought.”
Respect My Vote! was launched by the non-partisan nonprofit Hip Hop Caucus, which aims to unite 14- to 40-year-olds in hip-hop culture to advocate for justice, equality and opportunity.
Palmer is excited to add her voice to the organization star-studded chorus, which includes everyone from Ciara and Keyshia Cole Run-DMC’s Darryl ”DMC” McDaniels and popular radio host Charlamagne Tha God.
“When people said, “The children are the future” all those years ago? They were talkin’ about us!” she says. “My generation? We have the power. And for so long, we’ve wanted to say something, and now we can.”