Things That Matter

Lady Gaga Pledged To Fund 162 Classrooms In Dayton, El Paso And Gilroy Following Horrific Mass Shootings

Our community is still reeling after the recent mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, Gilroy, California and El Paso, Texas. In these assaults, far-right fanatics aimed their hate at places where migrants and Latinx folk gathered in a direct attack on our public safety. After these violations, public anxieties have been put on high alert. With attacks happening at stores, festivals and out in the streets, it seems like no place is safe anymore. This anxiety is only made worse with the upcoming return to school for millions of children across the nation. 

The communities of Dayton, El Paso, and Gilroy especially have reason to be unnerved but there is some good news coming their way thanks to the generosity of one of the world’s biggest stars.  

Lady Gaga has announced that her charitable foundation will “fully fund” 162 classrooms in the three assaulted communities. 

Facebook / Lady Gaga

On August 9th, the Oscar winner made a post to her Facebook account to share her generous plan. In the post, Gaga states that her Born This Way Foundation will partner with DonorsChoose.org in order to fully fund essentials for classrooms in the three impacted communities. Thanks to the help of these foundations, 14 classrooms in Dayton, 125 classrooms in El Paso, and 23 classrooms in Gilroy will get the help and support they need to welcome students back for the 2019/2020 school year. 

Gaga shared her sympathies for the affected communities. In the note addressed to Dayton, El Paso, and Gilroy, the artist wrote:

“My heart goes out to those who were taken from us too soon and to their families, loved ones, and communities who are left to grieve. Everyone has the right to laws that make them feel safe in their communities. In this moment, I want to channel my confusion, frustration, and fury into hope. Hope that we are there for each other and for ourselves.”

The signer also spoke to what will be needed to recover from these tragedies. 

Twitter / @thehill

Lady Gaga has long been an advocate for mental health awareness. In her 2019 Grammy’s acceptance speech, the singer spoke candidly about recognizing when someone needs help and getting that help without worrying about the stigma associated with mental illness. So, it makes sense that she would include a focus on mental health in her statement. 

“Surviving and recovering from these tragedies also means prioritizing your mental health and checking in on your loved ones,” the pop star wrote. “If you’re struggling, please be brave and tell a trusted someone. Don’t be scared to ask for help, I beg you. If you see a loved one struggling, please be brave and reach out, remind them it’s ok to not be ok, and listen to them. We cannot turn away from ourselves. We cannot turn away from our loved ones. We need each other. Don’t turn away.”

Mental illness is not a trigger for these tragedies but they are a result. Survivors of mass shootings are inflicted with anxiety and depression. Survivor’s guilt has also been credited for suicides after these assaults. As Gaga says in her post, we have to take care of ourselves and each other in the aftermath of these catastrophes. 

Though hearts are still heavy, El Paso citizens were uplifted by this news. 

Facebook / Lady Gaga

As a comment pointed out, a return to school is a return to normalcy for these students, teachers, and administrators. Being able to return back to class may seem like a small act but it is a reminder to these citizens that life goes on after tragedy and they will move on past this pain. Acts of kindness like the one offered by Lady Gaga will help the community get back to normal after such a life-altering event and that means a lot. 

While responses to Gaga’s philanthropy have generally been positive, many expressed frustration over the government’s lack of help in the communities impacted by mass shootings.

Twitter / @jonbaltz @TPhantom84

There’s a lot of frustration aimed at the government after these tragedies. The failure to pass comprehensive gun reform is only one reason why the public criticizes their representative after these tragedies. Another is the lack of support that these communities see the following mass shootings.

Many families have to resort to Go Fund Me’s in order to bury or cremate their lost family members. The mental impact of these assaults is also ignored by the government. If the people who represent us do nothing to solve gun violence, the least they can do is to do something to clean up after these violent attacks. Either way, something has to happen and — though it’s much appreciated — it shouldn’t be handled solely by the generosity of celebrities. 

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