Sunday, March 4, 2012

Lady Gaga Launches Foundation to Promote Tolerance, Acceptance and Empathy Among Youth

When you listen to Lady Gaga's pulsing music, see her striking photos, or watch her theatrical performances on video or TV, my guess is that empowerment and empathy are not the first things that come to mind. However, after learning about the launch of Lady Gaga's new Born This Way Foundation (BTWF), I am going to have a hard time not thinking about Lady Gaga's empathy whenever I hear Born This Way, the Foundation's anthem.

At a news conference held at Harvard University, Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, indicated that they started the Born This Way Foundation to promote youth empowerment and speak out against bullying. As noted on the BTWF website, the Foundation's mission is "to foster a more accepting society, where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated." To achieve its mission, the Foundation is "dedicated to creating a safe community that helps connect young people with the skills and opportunities they need to build a braver, kinder world."

In an interview that appeared in Nicholas Kristof's New York Times column, Lady Gaga describes being taunted, bullied and traumatized by fellow students during her high school years.  And, in an interview on the pop culture site, PopCrush, Lady Gaga states that she has learned to respond to taunts with empathy...“I always have a moment of empathy.... I think they must be going through something today that is coming from a place of mental turmoil or a psychological challenge".

It would be wonderful if Lady Gaga can help stem the increase in youth bullying by promoting empowerment, empathy, tolerance and acceptance.

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