At the end of February, Lady Gaga hopes to take her anti-bullying campaign to a stratospheric level with the launch of her Born This Way Foundation. Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta (a.k.a. Grandmother Monster) announced yesterday that they will be joined by Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra, Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Prof. Charles Ogletree of Harvard Law School, for the official introduction of the foundation on February 29.
Actions speak louder than words, and while some more cynical people believe that Lady Gaga is little more than a pop star, her establishment of this foundation speaks to her dedication to, and passion for, tolerance. This initiative is obviously near and dear to Gaga, as she regularly calls on her little monsters to stand up to bullies and believe in themselves; and now, her foundation can lend more heft to her message of acceptance. Working in conjunction with The Berkman Center at Harvard (focusing on the interaction of cyberspace, society, and law), The California Endowment, and the MacArthur Foundation, the Born This Way Foundation will research ways to better educate youth about such issues as bullying, self-confidence, and mental well-being.
Her campaign took an especially poignant turn for Gaga and her community of Little Monsters in September of 2011, when one of her young fans, a 14-year old boy named Jamey Rodemeyer from upstate New York, committed suicide after suffering at the hands of bullies while trying to come to terms with his sexual orientation. He had spent months asking for help online, at one point writing, “No one in my school cares about preventing suicide, while you’re the ones calling me [gay slur] and tearing me down.” Subsequently, a bereft Lady Gaga wrote on Twitter, “Bullying must become illegal. It is a hate crime.”
With her foundation set to begin its work, Gaga hopes to draw attention to the shocking cruelty faced by so many young people today. The majority of the foundation’s presence will be online — so that there will be a new line of defense utilizing the same medium that so many bullies use to attack victims. We are excited to see major institutions becoming involved in Gaga’s anti-bullying campaign, and with giants like the MacArthur Foundation and Harvard’s Berkman Center as partners, it looks to us like this universal message of tolerance could spread like wildfire. Give us your take on Gaga's newest initiative. When it comes down to it, is the pop star the perfect person to fight this cause? Speak up.
Photo: Via LadyGaga.com