More than 200 people attended Tory activist Charlie Kirk’s lecture at the Capstone Hotel on Wednesday evening as a crowd of around 20 students demonstrated outside the venue.
Kirk visited Tuscaloosa as part of his Exposing Critical Racism Tour, which rejects critical race theory.
Critical breed theory is a school of thought that argues that American legal institutions inherently perpetuate discrimination against racial minorities. The theory aims to explain how racism and white supremacy maintain social and political inequalities for racial minorities.
The event was sponsored by the UA Chapter of Turning Point USA, a nonprofit organization founded by Kirk.
Inside the Capstone Hotel, boards featured voter registration forms and articles that read “Socialism sucks” and “Say no to critical hate theory.”
Nolan Stewart, a member of Turning Point USA, said it was important for political actors on the right and left to speak out on campus.
“I think it’s really important that people our age get involved in politics,” said Stewart.
Charlie, a student protester who asked to be identified by first name only, said Kirk’s event was a source of fear for them.
“When I heard he was going to be here, my first reaction was not shock, disgust or anger. It was fear, ”Charlie said. “Honestly, I was afraid of how this would affect the campus community, whether or not it would encourage people to be more open in their hatred.”
Charlie said it is important to protest against controversial politicians.
“We are in critical times in our development as students,” Charlie said. “If we’re not ready to take a stand now when we’re young and fiery and have nothing to lose, what are we going to do in the real world when people question what we believe in?” ? “
Kirk opened the event by addressing President Joe Biden’s executive order establishing a vaccine mandate for federal workers. He said the Centers for Disease Control and other health organizations are a way to establish a hierarchy between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.
“Most of these decisions, from a public health perspective, were made without your consent,” Kirk said. “It is a violation of the consent of the governed.”
Kirk criticized the new employee vaccination mandate instituted by the University of Alabama, calling it unpopular.
Kirk cited the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System as saying that approximately 17,000 deaths have been reported after taking the COVID-19 vaccine. The VAERS, a reporting system in which almost anyone can report adverse reactions from a vaccine, “cannot be used to determine whether a vaccine has caused or contributed to an adverse event or disease,” according to the website.
About 222 million Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. More than 750,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
Kirk encouraged those under the mandate to seek religious and medical exemptions to avoid getting vaccinated.
Half an hour after starting his speech, Kirk addressed Critical Race Theory.
“Critical race theory permeating every part of American life threatens the future of every young person,” Kirk said. “It means the things you can’t change are more important than the things you can change.”
Towards the end of the event, Kirk’s speech turned to other topics, such as “the emasculation of American man” and a Washington Post article pleading for the abolition of Greek life.
“[These events] teach us true American values, ”said Adam Baranovsky, treasurer and campus coordinator for the UA section of Turning Point USA.