WASHINGTON, D.C. — Last night, members of Congress, thought leaders and the media joined together to celebrate Senator Tim Scott, Fox News’ Janice Dean, and “mama bear” Asra Nomani at Independent Women’s Forum 2021 Annual Awards Gala. The Gala was held at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.. 

Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) presented Senator Tim Scott with the Gentleman of Distinction award for his commitment to protecting and defending our American values. He seeks to preserve and defend the noble goal of a colorblind society that sees all people as unique individuals worthy of respect and opportunity and rejects the movement to divide us into identity groups. Senator Scott joins past honorees Mike Rowe, Steve Forbes, Ed Gillespie, Mark Steyn, and Larry Kudlow in accepting this award.

In his remarks, Sen. Scott said, “I will say it’s one thing to talk about doing the right thing and empowering women. We have to lead by example, men. Men in this room, we have to lead by example. And I am thankful that my comms director, my press secretary, my chief of staff, my deputy chief of staff, my staff director, and my number two on the aging committee are all powerful, positive women.” 

“Now, this didn’t just happen. This happened because I have a great mama…” he added. “And my mom today is still my American hero, and I will say that without any question she taught me some really important things. Number one, she taught me that never ever can you surrender. You never give up.”

IWF honored Fox News’ Janice Dean — a fierce justice seeker and revealer of Gov. Cuomo’s corruption — with the Barbara K. Olson Woman of Valor Award, which recognizes extraordinary women who have demonstrated a firm commitment to fearlessly standing for what is right, women whose work has helped make significant improvements in the lives of women and their loved ones. The seventeen past honorees include, most recently, Maria Bartiromo, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Ambassador Nikki Haley, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. 

In her virtual remarks, Dean spoke of going up against former Gov. Andrew Cuomo and dealing with chronic illness. The perennially optimistic Janice Dean said, “you don’t know what someone is going through until you have walked a day in their shoes. I think that’s important. I think it’s important to remember just to be kind to others because you don’t know what someone might be going through…when you do go through challenges, sometimes that brings you to the most beautiful destinations.” 

Setting the stage to present the final award of the evening, IWF brought several tremendously brave and powerful parents who have been fighting bureaucrats to give parents more leverage on stage including Moms for Liberty Co-founder Tiffany Justice, school board trustee and Texas mother Dr. Katarina Lindley, Rhode Island mother Nicole Solas, and Loudoun County mother Xi Van Fleet. Julie Gunlock, an Alexandria mother and director of Independent Women’s Network, presented the heroine of the parent movement: courageous mama bear and Vice President of Parents Defending Education Asra Nomani with the Resilience Award. 

“Together, as a national movement, parents won Virginia back for our children. I am so sorry I cannot be present with you tonight, but in my absence is a metaphor,” Nomani wrote in her remarks. “When one of us cannot be present, we have a pack of mama bears and papa bears, as well as single women, single men, and grandparents who can fill the space. And tonight, let’s applaud not just one of us, but all of us. Together we are bold, courageous, and resilient. The minute we became parents, we became resilient because no one will come between us and our cubs. Together we are the mama bear and the papa bear movement, and tonight we applaud each and every one of you.”



Independent Women’s Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well-intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities.