Shawn Olstein ’22
On Feb. 11, conservative political commentator Candace Owens came to Trinity’s campus to speak at an event sponsored by Trinity College Republicans. Held in the Washington room, Candace Owens’ talk touched on a variety of subjects including her life experiences, conservatives on college campuses, and what Ms. Owens describes as the “Blexit” movement. The Blexit movement, whose name is a reference to the Brexit movement in the United Kingdom, advocates for a “black exit” from the democratic party. Founded by Ms. Owens following her departure from the right-wing organization Turning-Point USA, the Blexit movement claims that black Americans have been mistreated by the democratic party, an idea echoed in Ms. Owens’ talk at Trinity.
The talk detailed Ms. Owens’ experiences growing up as a black woman and how her grandfather encouraged her to work hard for herself. Ms. Owens continued to describe how, in her view, welfare traps black Americans, further detailing how she has encouraged her family members not to sign up for welfare programs. Ms. Owens also described what she saw as a decline in Western civilization and attributed this to the long period of peace in the West which has caused young people to look for fights and conflict within society, citing conflict over bathroom signs as an example. Ms. Owens then went on the compare the West to Russia and China, stating that the United States no longer cultivates strong men, unlike the aforementioned nations. Following her talk, Ms. Owens answered a few audience questions. Tensions appeared to increase during this period with several audience members criticizing Owens for saying no black children in Baltimore could pass a literacy test. Owens later criticized audience members who cheered in favor of single-parent black households. Following the talk, a debrief was held in the Underground.
Candance Owens is the second guest speaker invited to campus by Trinity College Republicans in the past year, following the invitation of another conservative political commentator Brandon Straka last year. Trinity College Republicans appear to be eager to invite more conservative speakers to campus. Current President and founder of the Trinity College Republicans Nick Engstrom ’22 told the Tripod “The Candace Owens event was a huge success. We believe everyone was impressed with her and how the event was organized. Myself and the Trinity College Republicans are excited for the future of the club and for more events in the future.” Despite the anticipated controversy by many on campus, the event appeared to run smoothly and as planned. Secretary of the College Republicans Isabelle Mueller ’23 told the Tripod, “The event was a huge success. I was proud to see that so many Trinity students were willing to expose themselves to views they may not necessarily agree with.” However, not all reactions to the event were as positive. President of Trinity College Democrats Liz Turpin ’22 expressed disapproval for the talk stating, “The Candace Owens talk was put on by the Trinity College Republicans to get a reaction out of left-leaning students and bring up Churchill-esqe emotions. Thankfully, with the help of left-leaning organizations on campus, students saw through Candace Owens’ conservative rant and the event became a thing of the past.”