Happy Hippies Instill Hope
By. Hannah Taylor
John Lennon said it best: “A dream you dream alone is only a dream, a dream you dream together is a reality.”
This quote shaped the manifesto of the Happy Hippies, a non-profit founded by Miley Cyrus whose mission is to “fight injustice facing homeless youth, LGBTQ youth and other vulnerable populations.” Since its start in 2014 it has worked with organizations like My Friend’s Place and others to help fight injustice.
In an interview with Lifetime, Cyrus said her motivation to launch the foundation was the death of Leelah Alcorn, an individual struggling with gender identity.
“I’ve never felt it was right that someone would lose their life over not being able to be free,” Cyrus said. Happy Hippie is a place for people like Leelah to reach out to, while educating others about LGBTQ youth, and other vulnerable populations.
Since the launch she has had people reach out to her, especially parents. “Parents would tell me, they never understood their child until they saw me being open about it,” Cyrus said.
“I believe as a society we have come to recognize and celebrate differences in sexual orientation and identity,” Kathleen Jones said, a Gender Studies professor at East Carolina University. “But it is so important for parents to be supportive of their child and help them,” Jones said.
According to True Colors Fund, 40 percent of youth experiencing homelessness identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. With these percentages in mind Cyrus began building the foundation.
“It all really started with Jesse,” Cyrus said in an interview with Good Morning America. Jesse was a homeless youth living in California who Cyrus had accept her 2014 Video Music Award on behalf of him and the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth.
“I think it’s really great that there is a foundation like this out there now, there needs to be more awareness on this topic,” Chris Fisne said, a current student at East Carolina University who identifies as part of the LGBTQ community. “I worked for the Human Rights Campaign this past summer in Washington, we focused on LGBTQ individuals, but never ones that were homeless,” Fisne said.
Chris Fisne, East Carolina University Student
The foundation began working mainly with groups in Los Angeles, then forming support groups in San Francisco and now starting to spread across the country. In 2015, they partnered with My Friend’s Place, a homeless shelter in the LA region.
Also in 2015, it launched backyard sessions. Cyrus holds duets with other singers like Joan Jett and Ariana Grande. When new music is released and uploaded to social media sites it includes a way to donate and get informed.
The foundation is constantly striving to inspire, inform, and help the population. Last year, in the wake of terrorist attacks in Brussels the foundation partnered with Seeds of Peace to support peace-building programs with youth from conflict zones and diverse communities.
Following the Pulse shooting, Happy Hippie teamed up with the Zebra Coalition in Orlando to provide support services for LGBTQ youth affected by the shooting.
It also launched Happy Hippie x Phantogram, aimed at raising awareness about suicide prevention and to encourage people to reach out for help.
Happy Hippies fight for anyone or anything facing injustice. It has worked to protect wildlife in British Columbia, along with helping organizations like Planned Parenthood. Most recently, Cyrus and other members visited the Rady Children’s Hospital and were seen in the Women’s March in LA.
When first entering the Happy Hippie website you are showcased direct links to volunteer for the things you are passionate about. The links include: Education, Women’s Rights, LGBTQ Rights, Social Justice, Homeless Youth, Mental Health, Environment, and Animal Welfare.
The site also includes ways to donate, crisis hotlines, and even purchasing of Happy Hippie merchandise for you and your animals that help fund the foundation.