#BeKind21 2021: Thank you

September 21, 2021

By Cynthia Germanotta

 Cynthia Germanotta is president and co-founder of Born This Way Foundation (BTWF), created with her daughter Lady Gaga. Born This Way Foundation supports the mental health and wellness of young people, empowering them to build a kinder, braver world. Cynthia is also a World Health Organization (WHO) Ambassador for Mental Health.

At the end of last year’s #BeKind21 campaign, I emerged with a renewed sense of hope. Even though we weren’t able to show up in person for events as we normally would, we found new and innovative ways to remain connected and unite through kindness. This year, we looked forward to September as a beacon of hope, as all of us – myself included – continue to face an array of challenges. In the midst of this time when the world still feels heavy, our focus for #BeKind21 was to work together to lift each other up.

Here at the end of these 21 days, I feel lighter, braver, and even more hopeful than before. That’s all because of you. Together, we cultivated a community of over 6.8 million people pledging to over 143 million acts of kindness. My heart is so full reflecting back on what we’ve been able to accomplish as what my daughter refers to as the “global kind community.”

My #BeKind21 began when Alex, Josh, and I dropped in on our friends at the Ali Forney Center’s Bea Arthur Residence. We met with the residents there to share about our work and #BeKind21 and learn more about their stories. In discussing what acts of kindness are meaningful to them, we brainstormed a collective list for the 21 days on the spot. A few of those actions that particularly touched me were: Be mindful with words and ‘kindful’ with actions, tell someone you believe in them, daydream about your future, and one I found especially important – listen and understand.

I’ve been so moved by the creative ways you’ve all shown up for yourselves, each other, and our world this year. The best part of my day has been searching the #BeKind21 hashtag on social media and scrolling through all of your posts, as well as visiting ChannelKindness.org to learn about your stories of kindness from around the world. The young people who organized drives in their communities to support their unhoused neighbors, educators who decorated their classrooms with kind activities and affirmations, and the workplaces that encouraged intra-office connection and care. Click here to share your own story with Channel Kindness.

What those young people at the Ali Forney Center reminded me of that morning and what you, as a member of our Foundation community, have showed me throughout #BeKind21 is none of us can do this work of building a kinder, braver world alone. Which is why I’m so grateful to have had you on my Kindness Team. You’ve given me, our entire team at Born This Way Foundation, and the world strength and hope that will carry on well beyond this year’s campaign. As long as you continue to think about what you need, what your community needs, and the essential role that you can play in helping meet those needs, you’re making a difference.

Please also remember that I’m always on your team. You are so loved, you matter, and you are not alone. If you or someone you know is having trouble believing that, I invite you to check out PleaseStay.us to find resources to support your mental wellness, expert-curated self-care tips, suggestions for anchors, and a pledge asking you to promise to stay. The kindest thing you can do today – for me, for yourself, and for the world – is to stay.

Your kindness challenge today: As is our hope every year, we hope you carry the spirit of #BeKind21 into the rest of your 2021 and beyond. May the light we shined on all the kindness that happened during #BeKind21 give inspiration for more ideas and stories, build more connections, and continue to remind everyone of the inextricable link between kindness and mental health. As always, continue to be kind and stay brave.

In Kindness,

Cynthia Germanotta
President and Co-Founder