Lady Gaga announced the formation of a new anti-bullying, youth empowerment foundation on Wednesday. A partnership with The MacArthur Foundation and Harvard University, the Born This Way Foundation aims to "Establish a standard of bravery and kindness, as well as a community worldwide that protects and nurtures others in the face of bullying and abandonment," Lady Gaga said in a press release.
Lady Gaga has long been a vocal opponent of bullying. The Grammy winning pop star has been an active participant in the "It Gets Better" campaign, a series of video messages, some recorded by celebrities, that try to instill a sense of future hope to young people, especially gays and lesbians.
One student, a 14 year old boy from Williamsville, New York named Jamey Rodemeyer, recently took his own life after reportedly suffering from bullying brought on by his homosexuality. Reportedly a huge fan of Lady Gaga, he had earlier recorded his own message for "It Gets Better", telling the camera, “That's all you have to do. Just love yourself and you're set. And I promise you, it'll get better."
After hearing of his death, a shaken Gaga took to her twitter, writing:
"The past days I've spent reflecting, crying, and yelling. I have so much anger…It is hard to feel love when cruelty takes someones life…Bullying must become illegal. It is a hate crime. I am meeting with our President. I will not stop fighting. This must end."
The foundation will be run by Lady Gaga in addition to her mother, Cynthia Germanotta.
"[We will be] addressing issues like self-confidence, well-being, anti-bullying, mentoring and career development and will utilize digital mobilization as one of the means to create positive change." the statement continues.
While some may see the new venture as one more in a series of pet projects started and abandoned by out of touch famous people, John Palfey, the co-director of the new foundation, was adamant about Gaga's commitment:
“I can’t recall an artist of Lady Gaga’s reach or caliber who has done the months of due-diligence and behind-the-scenes meetings with the experts before they’ve launched such a foundation,” he said in a statement.
The Born This Way Foundation will officially launch early next year, and an advisory board will reportedly be announced in the coming days. In the meantime, you can visit the website at www.bornthiswayfoundation.org and register your email address to show your support.