CRESWELL, Ore. --- After months of controversy about his appearances, right-wing political activist Charlie Kirk spoke to a crowd in Creswell Wednesday night as a part of the “Exposing Critical Racism Tour,” a nationwide series of events dedicated to the opposition of the Critical Race Theory.
It was held at the Emerald Valley Golf Club, and organized by Turning Point USA.
Up until a few hours before the event it was unclear if it would continue, with five separate venues backing out and a Holiday Inn Express in Springfield citing safety concerns.
''After careful consideration, we have made the decision that the Holiday Inn Express will not provide a venue for the Charlie Kirk event. We are making this decision out of an abundance of caution for the safety and security of our staff and guests,” the Holiday Inn Express said in a statement.
Several hundred people attended the event in Creswell, with dozens turned away at the door due to capacity limits.
Kirk discussed many topics, including how he supports having cameras in classrooms to monitor children, the corruption of social media, and the relationship between those who consider themselves conservative and those who consider themselves liberal.
The “Exposing Critical Racism Tour” is a play on the original Critical Race Theory (CRT) acronym. The theory is a way of thinking about America's history through the lens of racism. Scholars developed it during the 1970s and 80s in response to what they viewed as a lack of racial progress following the civil rights legislation of the 1960s.
Kirk and many of his supporters oppose the theory, although it is not taught in K-12 public schools in Oregon and is not part of the curriculum.
Despite the venue changes, several attendees drove hours just to be in the lobby since the seating area was full.
Kirk said they've faced issues and last minute scrambling like this in other states, and said they would have rather been on the University of Oregon's campus. He said their request was denied due to COVID-19 concerns.
Kirk spoke for roughly 90 minutes and took questions from the audience.
There did not appear to be anyone in attendance protesting or opposing Kirk’s message.