As she usually does, Lady Gaga is grabbing attention. This time, however, it is for the important cause of building a culture of love, compassion, and empowerment for youth. At a Harvard Graduate School of Education event featuring Oprah Winfrey, secretary of health and human services Kathleen Sebelius, and Deepak Chopra among others, Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta launched the Born This Way Foundation. Nicholas Kristof summarized the background story in a New York Times article. The Born This Way Foundation website and YouTube videos provide background on the foundation’s philosophy.
Gaga is seeking to empower youth to engage in transformative change in our culture to promote acceptance, respect, kindness, and civic engagement among youth. Emphasizing the need for all youth to feel safe in school and online, to have the skills to interact respectfully with others, and to have the opportunity to effect positive social change, the Foundation is partnering with Harvard, the MacArthur Foundation, and others. The long video of the event at HGSE might interest classroom teachers as a prompt for classroom discussion of school climate and individuals’ power to change negative energy to positive in schools and communities. Gaga and the panelists frequently refer to various movements (civil rights, anti-smoking, women’s movement, etc.) and the grass roots empowerment that led to key societal transformations.
Short (1:14) YouTube interview: Gaga and Oprah discuss “safety, skills, and opportunity,” the mission pillars of the foundation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJLh4UarrAQ
Long YouTube (1 hour+) video of the launch event: http://www.youtube.com/btwfoundation
Born This Way Foundation link to mission: http://bornthiswayfoundation.org/pages/our-mission/