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Goldwater 2023 Annual Dinner: Fighting for Freedom for Future Generations

November 4, 2023

Our freedoms are worth defending—after all, our nation’s promise of liberty for all has empowered millions of Americans across countless generations to live prosperous, happy lives. It’s our responsibility to fight for those freedoms so that future generations can pursue their American Dream, too.

That was the main theme of the Goldwater Institute’s Annual Dinner and 35th Anniversary Celebration on Friday in Phoenix, Ariz., where hundreds of our supporters and friends celebrated 35 years of expanding freedom around the nation and looked forward to what we can achieve in the years to come.

“Goldwater is the premier free market think tank in the state of Arizona,” said Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, whose live recording of his hit podcast Verdict highlighted the evening’s program. For years, Sen. Cruz has been one of the nation’s foremost advocates for the lofty ideals our nation was founded on as encapsulated in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence—that everyone is created equal, and that the best government is one that gets out of the way so that people can live their lives as they see fit. “Goldwater has done incredible work…championing individual liberty, championing free markets, fighting for school choice, leading the nation in school choice,” Sen. Cruz added.

To see those ideals in action, look no further than Christian Watson, a conservative writer, podcaster, and advocate—and the winner of the 2023 Goldwater Institute Freedom Award. Through his work bravely battling the forces of statism that seek to destroy the principles of justice and equality before the law under the guise of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) and Critical Race Theory (CRT), Christian, a young American speaking up for the next generation, is showing the country what it truly means to love and appreciate the blessings of liberty.

“Christian shares an important message about how young Americans can reclaim their individuality, take responsibility for their own lives, and chart their own pathway for success,” said Goldwater Executive Vice President Christina Sandefur, who presented Christian with the Freedom Award. “This is the mindset that Christian models: the best way to fight prejudice is through excellence; the best way to overcome adversity is through perseverance.”

“The left despises free-thinking black individualists like me,” Christian says, highlighting the importance of his efforts to educate Americans, particularly young people, about the evils of identity politics. “We have gotten so far away in politics from understanding the individual as a sovereign entity, from understanding the individual as someone who should be estimated and measured in a way that is whole and holistic to who they are and not as a political constituency. This is the foundation of identity politics: the idea that skin color is descriptive.”

In grade schools, high schools, and universities, the left is trying to indoctrinate an entire generation of students with racist ideologies that teach them to judge each other based on skin color—dogmas that prioritize skin color over character, racial discrimination over equality, and conformity over freedom. In higher education in particular, a cancerous web or taxpayer-funded, racially discriminatory initiatives are seeping into every aspect of university life, from faculty hiring to faculty training to classroom indoctrination.

Not on Goldwater’s watch. Future generations deserve better—they deserve truth, not lies. That’s why we’re spearheading the charge to dismantle radical DEI. “One of our top priorities is to stop diversity, equity, and inclusion practices,” Goldwater Institute President and CEO Victor Riches said Friday.

And we’re winning. This year in Arizona and Florida, we ended the left’s use of mandatory “diversity statements” to enforce ideological conformity among faculty job applicants. And in Texas, Goldwater enacted the nation’s most powerful reform to completely defund the bloated apparatus of DEI administrators in public higher education.

The battle to defeat DEI is just one example of our work to defend liberty in courtrooms, capitol buildings, classrooms, and communities around the country—to safeguard the American Dream for the next generation.

“We have a single-minded focus on advancing free market reforms and protecting individual liberty. We do not care about special interests. We do not care about our critics or naysayers. And we do not care about the political fads of the day,” Goldwater Vice President for Litigation Jon Riches said. “We work to advance liberty and to protect the individual against the abuses of government.”

Don’t today’s kids deserve to earn a living in the profession of their choice when they grow up? Don’t they have the right to direct their future children’s education, own property, or access innovative medical care without begging the federal government for permission?

Since our founding 35 years ago, Goldwater has won hundreds of victories for individual freedoms. And we will never stop fighting to preserve those liberties—so that today’s generations and the ones to come can live freer, happier lives.



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