The Center for the American Experiment’s (CAE) Raise Our Standards Tour made it to Duluth after four venues declined to host the event, where attendees were met by protesters. According to the Duluth News Tribune, the event drew about 30 attendees and 40 protesters. Before the event started, “protesters gathered along Minnesota Avenue with flags and signs promoting racial justice.”
As was reported on The Minnesota Sun, in June activist Classie Dudley posted a video on the Duluth NAACP Facebook page and called the Raise Our Standards tour an “act of hate speech” and “overt racism.” She also called out the organization for hosting the event in Duluth on the week of Juneteenth, saying that the Black community “has enough going on.” The Duluth NAACP pressured the original location of the event in June to cancel the Raise Our Standards Tour stop.
The Raise Our Standards Tour is teaching “how to push back against the politicization of our schools” and is in opposition to the implementation and use of Critical Race Theory in America’s classrooms. CAE president John Hinderaker says that Critical Race Theory is not “just an academic discipline but a way to fundamentally transform the way children are taught about our society.”
Catrin Wigfall has been a speaker on the tour, sometimes joined by former Minnesota congressional candidate Kendall Qualls. Qualls, the founder of the organization TakeCharge, is known for his strong stance against Critical Race Theory. He said, “Are there racists out there in this country? You bet. But is America a racist country? Emphatically no.” Qualls believes that the single greatest problem facing Black Americans today is the absence of two parent homes. Qualls said that Critical Race Theory “belittles the progress that has been made in the country over generations.”
A statement from CAE reads, “Each informational session covers the revisions to Minnesota’s social studies standards that are now in progress, the ‘woke’ movement that is transforming our education system, alternatives to public schools, and how to get involved.”
According to the Duluth News Tribune, four different venues canceled the event after pressure from activists, which included “the Northland Country Club, the Holiday Inn and Suites Duluth, the AAD Shrine Event Center and the Cast Iron Bar and Grill.” The event was rescheduled for a fifth time and was held at the Lafayette Community Center last week.
One of the protesters at the Raise Our Standards Tour reportedly said she was there because she thought “the U.S. has a really bad track record of telling the truth and whitewashing history.” According to the Duluth News Tribune, police were on site after several protesters got “a little loud.”
The Center for the American Experiment’s Duluth stop was presented by President John Hinderaker. Before beginning the talk he said, “Those knuckleheads outside would call us racist for talking about this, which is ironic because this presentation that I’m about to present to you was created by Catrin Wigfall who is married to a Black man.”
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Hayley Tschetter is a reporter with The Minnesota Sun | Star News Network and The College Fix. She graduated with a degree in Communications from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. Send news tips to [email protected]
Photo “Lift Bridge” by Tony Webster (CC BY-SA 2.0)