By Lauren Jow
Originally published on Advocate.com August 10 2012 3:05 PM ET
In a partnership that joins cultural influence with political clout, Lady Gaga’s mom, Cynthia Germanotta, and President Barack Obama’s senior adviser Valerie Jarrett teamed up to discuss ways to end bullying at the third annual Bullying Prevention Summit in Washington, D.C.
At Tuesday’s conference, Germanotta introduced the Born Brave Nation, a coalition that will be made of local, youth-led groups committed to creating safer public school environments.
“We’re actually challenging youth around the country and around the world to step up and be part of new nation that will be kinder and braver to one another,” Germanotta said at the conference.
To meet communities where they are, the “Born Brave” bus will tour with Lady Gaga to 30 cities nationwide next year. The tour schedule will be announced in early fall on the Born This Way Foundation website, Germanotta said.
Jarrett weighed in on behalf of the Obama administration, reiterating the president’s commitment to ensuring the safety of LGBT youth.
“The president believes real change happens from the bottom up, not from the top down,” Jarrett said at the conference.
The Obama administration has been busy on the anti-bullying front, hosting the first White House Conference on Bullying Prevention last year to share the best ways to make schools safer as well as a similar conference in Texas in March.
Obama also endorsed the Safe Schools Improvement Act, which would require school districts to adopt codes of conduct prohibiting bullying and harassment, as well as the Student Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit discrimination in public schools on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.
In a press release, Jarrett announced a new contest in which teens ages 13 to 18 can submit videos answering the question, “How have you been more than a bystander?” Contest rules are posted on the recently re-launched StopBullying.gov.
“We need to make sure that the administration is really holding Congress’s feet to the fire as well to say, ‘Let’s make sure that we have the legal tools that we need to create an environment that doesn’t tolerate bullying,’” she said at the conference.