We are expanding “Waterfalls,” which is my water project that I founded in honor of my beloved dad and humanitarian, Hashim Geloo. We build wells in impoverished areas throughout the world and each well is dedicated to a cause that was important to my father and our family: ending violence against women, poverty, bullying, and death by suicide just to name a few.
My motivation to pursue a career in law came from my desire to help other immigrants access the rights endowed to them by the United States, to ensure that those within my scope of influence would never be made to feel that invisibility that my own immigrant family felt. I have always wanted my clients to know that I saw them, that I heard them, and that they mattered. I want to use the laws to protect people, enrich the lives of members of our community, and ensure justice is accomplished, just as I set out to do when I drafted what is often referred to as “Andi’s law.”
In 2015, I was maliciously targeted by online bullies who hurled hateful remarks about my heritage, religion, gender, and body. I successfully derailed their efforts to destroy my reputation by using legal action to unveil their identities, two male colleagues who also practiced law. It was important to me that I use my experience to protect others from similar cruel actions. I drafted the initial legislation for HB 1635 on Defamation and appeared before the Virginia delegation to discuss and fight for this law. My efforts led to § 8.01-247.1, which protects victims of anonymous online defamation and bullying.
See New York Times article “WHEN THE LAW PREVENTED ANDI GELOO FROM TAKING LEGAL ACTION…SHE CHANGED THE LAW” by former wall street journalist, Asra Nomani. https://medium.com/@AsraQNomani/originally-published-at-the-new-york-times-women-in-the-world-5123f4525bed
Following the enactment of this law and the exposure it received, my efforts to assist victims of similar attacks have only expanded. I often take on cases pro bono to help marginalized people receive justice and I have given my time to speak at schools, mosques, and share my story with those who are often targets of bullies. My goal in sharing my story is that people feel they can be empowered by our laws and to have the confidence to make themselves heard.