Local nonprofit teams with Lady Gaga to promote kindness
What could Lady Gaga, the flamboyant singer-songwriter, and the Community Environmental Council in Santa Barbara possibly have in common?
The unlikely collaboration of the CEC and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation is sponsoring the annual #BeKind21 Campaign through Sept. 21.
The campaign, which began Sept. 1, invites schools and colleges, corporate partners, nonprofit partners and all other participants to integrate kindness into their lives.
In 2019, the campaign, with support from more than 130 partners, drew 1.6 million participants from around the world and generated more than 41 million acts of kindness.
“The CEC’s mission is about being kinder to the Earth, and we recognize that being kind to each other — actively taking care of, listening to, and supporting the needs of everyone in our community — builds the resilience we must have to collectively care for our planet,” said Kathi King, CEC’s director of outreach and education.
“This mission is more important than ever this year as we face so many challenges. Simple acts of kindness go a long way during a time when we are looking for inspiration and hope.”
The unusual partnership with Lady Gaga’s foundation began when CEC met Born this Way staff at the 2019 Pacific Pride Foundation Festival in 2019.
Led by Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, a philanthropist, activist and entrepreneur, Born This Way Foundation was founded in 2012 to support the wellness of young people and empower them to create a kinder and braver world.
“While our world is different this year, our mission has never been more important,” according to Ms. Germanotta. “Simple acts of kindness will go a long way in a time when so many are searching for connection and hope. Kindness is powerful, and together we can create a movement to build a future that is kinder, braver and more just for all.”
CEC is participating in the challenge by providing a list of 21 ways to be kind to the Earth and each other by advocating, changing personal habits and taking part in educational events.
Examples include the following:
— At home: Purchase food from local and diversified producers as much as possible.
— In the community: Encourage local restaurants and grocery stores to sign up with a food rescue organization in their community to donate surplus food.
— At home: Reduce the amount of single use and “disposable” plastic in your life wherever possible and reuse whatever you are able to — most plastic is not recycled.
— In the community: Speak out against structural racism and inequities.
— In the community: Ask your grocery store if you can bag your own groceries, request that your coffee shop resume allowing reusable cups and urge restaurants to refrain from sending unneeded straws, cutlery, napkins and condiments home with your takeout.
The complete list can be found at cecsb.org/bekind21.
Community members are encouraged to take pictures when they engage in any of the items on the list and post to social media with tags #bekind21 and #cecsb.
Individuals who take the pledge will receive exclusive kindness suggestions, tips and inspiration from Born This Way Foundation’s co-founders and partners and have a chance to be featured on ChannelKindness.org.
“As communities across the world face the trauma of a pandemic, the ongoing racial inequalities and a host of global challenges, this year’s campaign has been uniquely designed to be responsive to today’s movements, showcasing that kindness is not an empty gesture; rather kindness is a verb,” Ms. King said.
“To be kind is to speak up. To be kind is to prioritize your mental wellness. To be kind is to advocate for a world that values, validates and respects all people.”