Lady Gaga is taking the next step in her ongoing efforts to put an end to youth bullying: On Feb. 29, the chart-topping singer, alongside her mother Cynthia Germanotta, is launching the Born This Way Foundation at The Berkman Center at Harvard.
Through education, research, and advocacy efforts, the nonprofit foundation – which is in partnership with the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The California Endowment, and The Berkman Center – is aimed at teaching anti-bullying and mentoring youths in building self-confidence. (The mission statement on the foundation’s website reads, “This way, towards bravery, where youth are empowered. This way, towards a acceptance where humanity is embraced. This way, towards love where individuality is encouraged.”)
The opening of the foundation, which kicks off a campaign “to create a kinder and braver world,” has already garnered the attention of some rather influential people. According to the Associated Press, Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Harvard Law professor Charles Ogletree are just some of the names scheduled to attend. (Columnist Dan Savage’s similarly-themed “It Gets Better” project, which was started in response to the tragic onslaught of bullying-related gay teen suicides, drew support and action from the likes of Ellen DeGeneres, Neil Patrick Harris, Anne Hathaway, Tim Gunn, Ke$ha, Perez Hilton, Sarah Silverman.)
The announcement of Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation (derived from the name of her self-empowerment anthem) is of no surprise: The musician has been vocal about gay rights and creating anti-bullying laws. In response to the suicide of her 14-year-old fan Jamey Rodemeyer last September, Lady Gaga tweeted to President Barack Obama, “Bullying must become … illegal. It is a hate crime,” and “I am meeting with our President. I will not stop fighting. This must end. Our generation has the power to end it. Trend it #MakeALawForJamey.”
Lady Gaga joins an increasing list of celebrities who have recently used their fame to begin a foundation to help a cause they passionately believe in: Ben Stiller launched his foundation, which provides educational support to children around the world, back in August; while Matt Damon’s mission with Water.org and H20 Africa provides clean drinking water to those who do not have it and aims to put an end to deaths related to unclean water.
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