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Oh my Gaga: Pop superstar teams up with Harvard to launch Born This Way Foundation at the end of the month

Posted by Alex Pearlman  February 12, 2012 06:06 PM

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lady gaga born this way foundation.jpgBy Samantha Curtin

Since the beginning of her stardom, Lady Gaga has been an adamant anti-bullying advocate, especially for the GLBTQ community. A bullying victim herself -- “[I was] being teased for being ugly, having a big nose, being annoying,” she said in a Rolling Stone story last May. “[They would say] your laugh is funny, you’re weird, why do you always sing, why are you so into theater, why do you do your makeup like that?” -- Gaga knows how bullies make their victims feel, and she’s using the power of her fame to help others overcome it and prevent bullying in the future.

In the past year alone, Lady Gaga has advocated for anti-bullying laws, created her own anti-bullying videos, and met with Obama administration staffers to discuss bullying prevention. And at the end of this month, she’ll be launching her own foundation, in conjunction with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and other social institutions, to support established youth empowerment organizations.

The Born This Way Foundation, which Lady Gaga announced in November, will address issues like self-confidence, well-being, bullying, mentoring, and career development. With the slogan “Empowering Youth, Inspiring Bravery,” the non-profit, led by Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, seeks to mold society into a place where everyone is accepted for who they were born to be. The foundation will officially launch on Wednesday, Feb. 29, at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre.

"My mother and I have initiated a passion project,” Lady Gaga said in a press release. “Together we hope 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."

Video courtesy of WCVB TV / ABC News

Along with the Berkman Center, which studies and analyzes how the internet is used to promote change, the mother-daughter duo is also partnering with The John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and The California Endowment. The former “supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world,” while the latter is a private, state-wide health foundation whose mission is to “expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians.”

BTWF will implement Facebook and Twitter campaigns to gain support and involve the public in its course of action. They’ll publish stories from teenagers and young adults -- for example, the tear-jerking and heartwarming stories of abuse, unaccepted homosexuality, and suicide attempts that came in response to the question “What does bravery mean to you?” These personal “Born Brave” stories support the foundation’s mission of working towards a world of acceptance. BWTF is also encouraging the use of Twitter hashtags like #bravenewworldin2012 for sharing New Year’s resolutions and #bornbrave for stories.

“Bravery is being true to oneself in the face of everything that opposes you. It’s acting out in spite of whatever seeks to bring you down,” writes Tori from Washington in her story. “Lady Gaga inspires this. She will always be my hero.”

What do you think of Lady Gaga's anti-bullying efforts?

Photo by [captivated] (Flickr)

About Samantha -- I'm a South Shore native pursuing a career in the advertising industry, a lover of travel, snow, sand, and anything creative, and a Boston sports enthusiast with a secret desire to become the next Cake Boss. I want to do what I love and love what I do while continuing to travel the world. Twitter: @samanthancurtin

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