Are you an aspiring journalist currently in high-school? Participate in the debate below and win the opportunity to cover Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation launch event with Oprah on February 29.
Jury selection has begun in the trial of in the trial of Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers University student charged with using a webcam to spy on his roommate Tyler Clementi, who later committed suicide.
The case against Ravi began on Sept. 19, 2010, when he sent the following Twitter message: “Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.” Authorities say he also used a web camera in his dormitory room to stream Clementi's intimate encounter live on the Internet. Three days later, Clementi committed suicide. Ravi faces 15 counts, including bias intimidation, a hate crime which carries a possible sentence of 10 years in prison.
Clementi's case highlights the seriousness of anti-gay bullying, a problem which has particularly impacted high school teenagers dealing with the complicated issues of gender, sexuality, and difference. Multiple bullied gay teenagers have committed suicide in the past several years.
To address this issue, internationally-renowned pop star Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, are launching the Born This Way Foundation (BTWF), which will support programs and initiatives that deal with empowering youth. BTWF's mission is to "lead youth into a braver new society where each individual is accepted and loved as the person they were born to be."
Gaga has been a stand-alone leader in shedding light on the issue of teen bullying. She met with President Obama to discuss the bullying epidemic in high schools after the suicide of 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer. When news broke of his death in September 2011, Gaga tweeted, "The past days I've spent reflecting, crying, and yelling. I have so much anger. It is hard to feel love when cruelty takes someone's life."
Gaga will be launching the Born This Way Foundation on Wednesday, February 29 at the Harvard. A star-studded cast including Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra, and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius will join for the launch.
PolicyMic has press access to cover the launch, and we're hosting an exclusive competition for aspiring high school journalists to determine who will attend on our behalf. Here's how it will work: (1) Answer the question below (in 1,000 characters or less) and participate in the discussion before 9:00am on Friday, February 24; (2) The most mic'd participant at the end of the debate will get the chance to cover the event for PolicyMic. We'll provide a small travel stipend and get you set up in Cambridge. The winner must be able to attend in person at that time. PolicyMic will provide a travel stipend of $100 but the winner must be able to cover the remaining costs to attend the event.
Join the debate: Why is high-school bullying a problem? What are some ways we can deal with it?
Photo Credit: TJ Senegal