For a dozen years, the Center of the American Experiment has operated out of office space in Golden Valley off Wayzata Blvd.
It’s been an obscure location off a frontage road, until the early morning of Sunday, Jan. 28.
“There’s a big difference between getting attacked on Twitter and having someone try to burn down your building. It’s shocking. No doubt about it,” Hinderaker said.
“Two o’clock on a Sunday morning someone broke into this building, at the south entrance, I’m quite certain. They set two distinct fires. They set one fire in the corridor on the ground floor of our office, the American Experiment office, and the space across the hall that we lease to TakeCharge, Kendall and Sheila Qualls’ organization, and they set a separate fire up on the third floor in the office of the Upper Midwest Law Center,” he explained.
All three groups are vocal in the conservative movement, publicly pushing back against the state’s left-wing agenda.
TakeCharge President Kendall Qualls also spoke to Alpha News about why he believes his organization was targeted.
“Then the anger starts coming in, you know, what was the issue with our organization believing that the promise of America is available to everyone regardless of race, regardless of social standing? And the biggest issue they have a problem with is that we not only disagree, we have the evidence that the racial disparities in our country are not due to systemic racism or white privilege; it’s because we let this fatherless home issue fester for 50 years, to the point now in Minneapolis 80 to 90% of black children are born into fatherless homes,” Qualls said.
Qualls said threats are not uncommon in his line of work. Even after the fire tore through his office, some emailed to celebrate.
“One said, ‘Hey, we are glad you were torched. It was the best news I ever heard,’ and then explicit comments after that,” Qualls explained.
Both Qualls and Hinderaker touched on the apparent bias of Minnesota’s media.
“I think the local media was a little slow off the mark. The first one or two stories had that ‘conservative groups claim’ it was arson, but it was blindingly obvious. The first responders knew it was arson. You have one fire on the first floor and then a different fire on the third floor. That’s not a natural occurrence. They used accelerants. This is not a subtle thing,” Hinderaker said.
The fact a DFL state representative deleted his X account after joking about the fire was also absent from most coverage.
“There is a direct censorship in legacy media on the views that we express,” Qualls said.
The ATF, FBI, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, its fire investigation team, and the Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division are all investigating the case. Qualls and Hinderaker expect camera footage from inside and outside to help them track down whoever is responsible. They also plan to announce a reward for information that leads to an arrest in the coming days.
The fire will force the dozens of other businesses that office at the same location from the building for months.
Still, they are undeterred in their missions.
“We don’t scare easily. No, nobody is scared of this,” Hinderaker said.
“It doesn’t scare me at all. If anything, it emboldens me. If anything, we’re going to get louder. They’re cowards,” Qualls said.