Born This Way Foundation Launch: Collected Links

February 28, 2012

Ongoing coverage of the Born This Way Foundation Launch at Harvard University.

As researchers, we know that bullying is a serious, urgent issue. We favor aggressive and meaningful intervention programs to address it and to prevent young people from taking their lives. These programs should especially support LGBT youth, themselves more likely to be the targets of bullying. Yet, it's also critical that we pay attention to the messages that researchers have been trying to communicate for years.

The nonprofit organization is partnering with Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society to address issues of self-confidence, anti-bullying, mentoring, and career development through research, education, and advocacy, in large part by harnessing the power of the Internet.

“We are coordinating a research network to help inform the foundation as it carries out its work,” said Berkman Center co-director John Palfrey in an interview earlier in the day.

Palfrey and the Berkman’s Danah Boyd will serve as research fellows for the foundation and work closely on the initiative with the center’s executive director, Urs Gasser, as well as its Youth and Media Project.

Lady Gaga is expected to officially kick off her new foundation at Harvard this week, joined by Oprah Winfrey, spiritual leader Deepak Chopra and others as she unveils the anti-bullying organization.

Leaders from the undergraduate LGBTQ community met with researchers from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society and affiliates from the Born This Way Foundation Tuesday morning to provide their input on the foundation’s initiatives.

To achieve these ambitious aspirations, we've sought the counsel of philanthropy leaders such as Connie Yowell of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Dr. Bob Ross of The California Endowment and our research partners at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard, who have been invaluable friends and colleagues in this journey.

The official rollout of the foundation was held at Harvard because the university’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society and its Graduate School of Education are offering assistance to the fledgling organization.

Lady Gaga and Oprah Winfrey will appear at an event at Harvard University today celebrating the launch of the pop star's Born This Way Foundation. The launch will be attended by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, who will later join 30 Boston public school students for a youth summit on the issue of bullying in schools as part of Gaga's anti-bullying campaign.

"MassEquality congratulates Lady Gaga and her partners, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, the MacArthur Foundation, and the California Endowment, on the formal launch of the Born This Way Foundation today in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “This Foundation supports the core values that any just, accepting society should embrace and empower: the right to live authentically in safety; the resources to learn the skills to be empowered; and the opportunity to enrich your own community with a message of inclusion."

Anyone familiar with Boyd's work knows that she likes to pose tough questions and isn't afraid to take unpopular stances. A few days ago, she co-authored a piece for Huffington Post defending Dharun Ravi, the Rutgers University student who is on trial for inviting friends to clanestinely watch his roommate -- Tyler Clementi, a young gay man who later killed himself -- have sex with another man. "Tyler Clementi’s suicide is a tragedy," Boyd wrote. "We should all be horrified that a teenager felt the need to take his life in our society. But in our frustration, we must not prosecute Dharun Ravi before he has had his day in court. We must not be bullies ourselves."

The 25-year-old singer from New York’s Upper West Side, will unveil her Born This Way Foundation this afternoon on a stage at Harvard University where Winston Churchill and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once spoke. Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society is advising the star on her foundation.  Top officials from the MacArthur fund and the California Endowment, which are backing Lady Gaga’s foray into philanthropy, will be on hand, as well as 18 youths from the California fund’s programs. Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, is scheduled to attend, as is Oprah Winfrey.

Lady Gaga and her mother partnered with Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, which released a set of working papers as part of its “Kinder and Braver World Project” in collaboration with Lady Gaga’s foundation.  The Berkman center has helped “with the framing for their research agenda and the kinds of interventions that can be used to empower youth and to address issues like bullying in society,” said John Palfrey, the center’s co-director.

The Foundation has partnered with Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society to learn what the data say about bullying and other issues affecting young people. “The Born This Way Foundation is trying to ask the hard questions about how they can be most helpful to youth, and to try to ground it in what the data say, and trying to do their homework before they jump in,” says John Palfrey, faculty co-director of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society and co-author of the book Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives.

Today, at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Lady Gaga is officially launching her Born This Way Foundation, which will inspire bravery and kindness in young people. As one of the best-selling recording artists of all time, Lady Gaga has repeatedly encouraged her fans to "be someone that nurtures." With her new foundation, she is poised to do much more.

“The Born this Way Foundation is a part of our efforts to reimagine a better future for young people. Other such partnerships can and should exist. Celebrities and notable public figures are increasingly aware of their power to address the challenges and problems around them. Through collaboration, philanthropists can find new partners in many of these celebrities and the networks they bring to the table.”

Lady Gaga will announce the creation of her new charity, the Born This Way Foundation, at an event in Harvard’s Sanders Theatre on Wednesday afternoon. The foundation’s launch will be marked by a series of events around Harvard throughout the day which share the foundation’s focus on bullying in the 21st century.

On Feb. 29, Lady Gaga will launch a foundation dedicated to creating caring communities and stopping bullying. Hosted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Harvard's Berkman Center, Lady Gaga will be joined by Oprah and other celebrities. A powerful new film, "Bully," will be widely released at the end of March, and many Americans in recent years have been galvanized by a blizzard of tragic bullying stories.

This afternoon, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino announced that he would attend the launch of the foundation. Earlier in the afternoon, Menino plans to join 30 Boston public school students for a "youth summit on the issue of bullying in schools" as part of Lady Gaga's anti-bullying campaign.


Last updated March 02, 2012