WASHINGTON, D.C. – Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) this week celebrated its 2023 Annual Awards Gala, with 450 guests – from U.S. Senators and members of Congress to media personalities to business executives – in attendance, at the Waldorf Astoria in Washington, D.C. honoring dedicated defenders of freedom and opportunity. IWF presented Chaya Raichik with the Resilience Award, Lynn Friess with the Diana Davis Spencer Lifetime Achievement Award, Enes Kanter Freedom with the Gentleman of Distinction Award, and Miranda Devine with the Barbara K. Olson Woman of Valor Award.
‘Libs of TikTok’ creator Chaya Raichik was the first honoree of the evening. Raichik received the Resilience Award for her incredible courage and grace as she has faced tremendous attacks as a result of her work in exposing grooming and indoctrination online. “When you’re fighting a good cause, speaking truth, and standing up for what’s right, people will come after you. It takes resilience to stay strong and forge ahead,” Raichik said. “Thanks to the work of the Independent Women’s Forum, and many of you in this room, change and sanity is finally on the horizon.” Past honorees of the Resilience Award include Tulsi Gabbard, Asra Nomani, and Kristy Swanson.
The Diana Davis Spencer Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed upon philanthropist and author Lynn Friess for her generosity and dedication to fostering initiatives that uplift and strengthen communities and people across the country for over half a century. “This recognition means the world to me. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Independent Women’s Forum, Diana, and all of you who support this amazing, amazing group and the organization,” Friess said. Friess joins last year’s first Lifetime Achievement honoree, Diana Davis Spencer, as a recipient and the namesake of this award.
IWF Ambassador Riley Gaines introduced the Gentleman of Distinction honoree Enes Kanter Freedom. The human rights activist, NBA star, and Nobel Peace Prize nominee was recognized for his inspirational and fearless courage in the face of tyranny and his defense of freedom and human rights around the world. Freedom dedicated his award to the brave women of Iran and Afghanistan who are fighting tyranny, the tens of thousands of women missing in his home country of Turkey who are tortured everyday, and to his mother and sister, who he has not seen in nearly 10 years.
Freedom shared a childhood story that inspired who he is today. The lesson his mother taught him after children tried to pressure young Freedom to light an American and Israeli flag on fire was not to hate anyone until you meet them. “I got so emotional because there are millions of kids in the Middle East, growing up anti-Semitic, growing up anti-West, and anti-American just because of those hate speeches coming from their dictatorship. So, I was like, we’ve got to change that. We’ve got to do whatever we can to change that,” Freedom shared. Past Gentlemen of Distinction award recipients include Vivek Ramaswamy, Senator Tim Scott, Representative Dan Crenshaw, Larry Kudlow, Mike Rowe, and Steve Forbes.
The final awardee of the night was New York Post columnist, Fox News contributor, and “Laptop From Hell” author Miranda Devine, who received the Barbara K. Olson Woman of Valor award for her fearless reporting to expose corruption and hold the political class accountable. “I wrote my book ‘Laptop from Hell’ because I thought that the American people deserved to know the story that was kept from them before the 2020 election,” Devine said. “Telling the truth is difficult at first, but it actually is the most wonderful freedom in itself, so all power to Independent Women’s Forum.” She joins Kimberley Strassel, Janice Dean, Maria Bartiromo, Betsy DeVos, Nikki Haley, and Kellyanne Conway as honorees of the Barbara K. Olson Woman of Valor award.
To read Chaya Raichik’s remarks, click HERE.
To read Lynn Friess’s remarks, click HERE.
To read Enes Kanter Freedom’s remarks, click HERE.
To read Miranda Devine’s remarks, click HERE.
BACKGROUND ON IWF’S ANNUAL AWARDS:
The Resilience Award recognizes a woman or man who exhibits bravery, courage, and inner strength and helps create stronger, more vibrant communities by encouraging more respectful dialogue and civic engagement.
Diana Davis Spencer Lifetime Achievement Award
The Diana Davis Spencer Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates an individual who, through her talents, hard work, and dedication, has made a lasting contribution to our country and to the cause of freedom.
Gentleman Of Distinction
The Gentleman of Distinction Award celebrates a gentleman that is committed to protecting and defending our American ideals and works to create a stronger and healthier society. He also exemplifies a commitment to respect and civil discourse, showing generosity and kindness to critics, while remaining steadfast in his beliefs. He is an advocate for limited government, economic liberty, and personal freedom, and promotes equal opportunities for women and men.
Barbara K. Olson Woman Of Valor
The Barbara K. Olson Woman of Valor Award has been bestowed upon some of the most influential female leaders in the country since 2004. It recognizes extraordinary women who have demonstrated a firm commitment to liberty, limited government, and personal responsibility, and whose work has helped make significant improvements to the lives of women and their loved ones.