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Today Angela talks about her upcoming Caravan of Hope, her cross-country tour aimed at helping some of the least served LGBTQ+ communities across the USA.

Many marginalized LGBTQ+ people in rural and conservative areas don’t have access to many kinds of legal services, or are fearful of making themselves visible.

Angela outlines her schedule so far, which towns and cities she plans to hit, and some of the services she will be offering in conjunction with local LGBTQ-friendly lawyers.

 

Episode Transcript

[00:03:19.250] – Speaker 5

Hey. Good morning, Philadelphia. Welcome to another Ask the Experts show. We are a live show, so that means we once in a while have technical difficulties having problems with our mic today. We will get it fixed for sure next week. This is our first show, so that means we’ve got attorney Angela. Angela my favorite, favorite attorney. 

[00:03:53.870] – Speaker 5

Good morning. Hey, let’s get started. Angela, last week we got seven new emails from people who actually found our show by mistake. They said and loved your show. So let’s kind of reintroduce yourself to everybody.

[00:04:18.690] – Speaker 6

Sure. So Angela Giampolo, and I’m an attorney in both Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and recently licensed in Arizona. And my law firm, To Age Myself, has been around now since 2008, geared solely towards the LGBTQ community, although we do represent and work with everyone who wants to work with us, but we focus on and predominantly serve the LGBTQ community for all of their legal needs. That may or may not have to do with being LGBTQ. We slip fall, we go bankrupt. We form businesses and own real estate on top of having legal needs and issues that have to do with being LGBTQ in this country. So that is me in a nutshell.

[00:05:15.270] – Speaker 5

Angela does real estate law, business law, family law, estate planning law, and employment law. I think I’ve got them all. What did I leave out?

[00:05:28.570] – Speaker 6

Transgender name changes, and adoptions. I don’t know if you mentioned that, but within family law, there are adoptions, and a lot of real estate and or business law overlap and interrelate. If you’re a business owner, you likely have a lease. If you are a real estate developer or investor, you likely have a business or company that you’re doing that through. And all of those, whether you’re a business owner, real estate developer, or just a human in the world, you should have estate planning. And then, obviously, from a family law perspective, divorces, and I specialize in uncontested divorces predominantly. We’ve only had the right to marry for eight years, and I like to honor that privilege that we fought for by doing, by dissolving and divorcing with as much love as possible. So if people want to throw Tiffany Vases at one another that they can’t afford, I like to refer them out to other lawyers that I know, love, and trust. But me and my Chihuahua, we like to do uncontested divorces. I’m a happy lawyer.

[00:06:50.550] – Speaker 5

I was waiting for that. And I got to add something. Angela, I have, with all the attorneys that I work with throughout the country, you are without a doubt the most caring attorney that I’ve ever had on my show. If you just look at your background, and what you have done up till right now, I can truly say you are the most caring attorney about your clients. That’s not a commercial. That’s an endorsement that I really, truly mean from the bottom of my heart. 

[00:07:27.890] – Speaker 6

Thank you, Steve.

[00:07:30.130] – Speaker 5

So today we’re going to every week. And like I said, Angela is with us every week. She’s the first show every week at 10:00. So, Angela, let’s just get started. What is the Caravan of Hope, specifically?

[00:07:47.430] – Speaker 6

Yeah. So you and I have talked about this now for some time because we’ve been doing this show for a couple of years, and I’ve been planning and leading up to this June Pride month, June of 2023, for the Caravan of Hope’s first maiden cross country voyage. So the Caravan of Hope is an RV, a caravan exactly like it sounds, that brings Hope and legal services. So Hope by way of legal services to LGBTQ folks all over the country. That don’t have access to out LGBTQ legal counsel like myself. Right. So 55% of the LGBTQ community in the United States live in the Midwest or the south, and they lack legal live radio, and they lack legal access, really, to legal counsel. It may not be safe to be out where they are, or even if there are out or not even necessarily out lawyers in their area. They may not specialize in LGBTQ, so they just may be an LGBTQ lawyer. But in the Midwest and in the south, where there are 55% of the population, they lack access to legal services. And like I said, it may not even be safe to be out where they are.

[00:09:27.210] – Speaker 6

So they may not even be willing to seek out legal counsel for their needs. And so the Caravan of Hope will go cross country by city by city and provide legal services to these folks. And I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not I should go to the actual cities, like actual small towns. But in talking with a lot of community centers around the country, due to the fact that these towns are so small and chances are the folks are not out where they are, we will be hitting up somewhat large cities or like Chicago, very large cities. But in a small state like Illinois, it would only take someone two to 3 hours to drive to Chicago, and chances are they’re used to driving an hour or two, if not 3 hours, to get to a city where they are more accepted. So the caravan I’ve outlined the itinerary, which we can discuss, but the caravan will.

[00:10:35.340] – Speaker 5

Arizona is still the first city.

[00:10:38.510] – Speaker 6

No. So we’re starting here because I’m in Philadelphia, so I’m not going to go all the way to Arizona to start from there, but I’m starting out here. We’re not even going to hit up Arizona per se in this just because we’re trying to hit up during Pride Month as many Prides as possible. And Arizona’s Pride is in October because it’s so hot in June, it’s like 120 degrees. But in figuring out the itinerary, it’s very diligent in choosing cities where the folks around that city would need the caravan.

[00:11:20.090] – Speaker 5

So kind of give us an idea of the layout where you’re going to be going first.

[00:11:26.010] – Speaker 6

Yeah, like I said, we’re here in Philadelphia, but we’re going to end in Philadelphia. So I’m not starting in Philly. I wanted to make it the very last stop, not the first. So we’ll be starting in Ptown Provincetown, a little gay Mecca for those of us on the East Coast. If we’re not in Key West or New Hope, we’re in Fire Island or Ptown. Right. So starting in Ptown for their pride. June 2. And from there, trickling down the East Coast and going to Asbury Park and then Rehomo, Rehoboth, Delaware, which we call affectionately Rahomo, and then hitting up Baltimore, very needed there in the surrounding areas of Maryland and Virginia. We’ll be able to drive into Baltimore from there and then DC Pride, and then from there, the next pride, my favorite state, if I’m not in Pennsylvania, is a good old Alabama that I like to mention. So we make a few stops in between. But the next pride that we’re going to hit up is the Pride Festival of all of Alabama. And then from there to Arkansas in a town actually called Arkadelphia, which I think it’s hilarious, but there’s a city named Arkadelphia, so I just absolutely had to make it in the itinerary.

[00:12:53.370] – Speaker 6

And then the next pride from there is Santa Fe. Santa Fe, New Mexico’s pride. Okay, perfect. Alabama Pride.

[00:13:14.450] – Speaker 5

That is going to be a tough one.

[00:13:16.770] – Speaker 6

It’s going to be a fun one, in my opinion. And it’s a tristate pride, so they’re obviously not a ton of folks in Alabama again, so there’ll be people coming from all over in that one. And I’m very excited with as much as I talk about Alabama and from there to Arkadelphia in Arkansas, which I had no idea there was a city named Arkadelphia.

[00:13:48.850] – Speaker 6

There you go. I absolutely had to make a stop in Arkadelphia. And then the next pride, we make a couple of other stops. Oklahoma whatnot? But we make it to Santa Fe, New Mexico, for their pride. And then there’ll be a long drive, but from New Mexico, from Santa Fe up to Salt Lake City, Utah, and then a very emotional and important stop for me from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Laramie, Wyoming, where Matthew Shepard was found beaten and tied up to a fence, left for dead. And his parents, Judy Shepherd, predominantly his parents, his mom fought for the very first federal hate crime legislation. That was back in 1996 when that happened to Matthew Shepard, really highlighting the violence that LGBTQ folks in rural small towns face. So there’s not a pride going on there, but in my heart and in my brain, Laramie, Wyoming, their pride is happening every day, 365 days a year. So we’ll definitely stop in Laramie. Lincoln, Nebraska, from there. And then from Lincoln to Chicago, Illinois pride. I’ve never been to Chicago Pride, and that’ll definitely be a big one. And like I said, Illinois is just short of Michigan and Ohio and even Nebraska, there are states all over that can easily drive in anywhere from one to four hour drive into Chicago from there, and then the last leg on the way home.

[00:15:29.530] – Speaker 6

Also a big college town left. I don’t think college kids need us as much, but definitely it brings people from all over. So maybe that college kid that just moved to Chicago from Laramie, Wyoming. Right. And then the last leg on the way home where we hit Columbus, Ohio. Columbus is super gay. People don’t realize it’s one of the most densely populated LGBTQ cities in the country. Despite it being in Ohio. It’s super gay. And then we hit Pittsburgh in the very last leg to Philadelphia on the 30 June. So we leave on the 2 June and go cross country. Obviously don’t hit up every single state, but make it all the way back to Philadelphia on the 30 June for the final stop.

[00:16:35.250] – Speaker 5

Oh, my God. You know what? I think we actually kind of have to remind people about the route because people have relatives that are part of the LGBTQ community in cities across America. And I think this will be one way that we let people know to let their relatives or friends know that you’re coming to their town. But what you’re doing, first of all, it’s pretty gutsy, I’m going to tell you that. But you’re a gutsy woman anyway. But what you’re doing is so amazing. Angela and I have never heard of this being done before.

[00:17:19.390] – Speaker 6

No, it’s never been done before. Not that I know of in any legal issue, any lawyer just driving cross country providing a specific set of legal services to a specific community, per se, and let alone to the LGBTQ community. But I came up with it in 2016. I remember it was New Year’s Day. Thinking that long. Yeah, 2016, when Trump was elected leading so I guess New Year’s Day leading into 2017. So technically day one of 2017. And with as scared as everybody was in that moment, right? And I think off of four years of Obama’s slogan of hope. And that coming to an end with Trump coming into office and with as scared as the LGBTQ community was, the name Caravan of Hope just sort of downloaded as a thing. And so that was 2017, leading into his inauguration. And I’ve done things locally within Pennsylvania with it, but never a maiden voyage like this, because it’s just been one thing after another. I mean, three of those years was basically COVID where there was no driving around the country providing legal services to people when we were in lockdown. So there was that.

[00:18:58.880] – Speaker 6

But also just dealing with locally, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the folks that were scared here with Trump coming into office and then one thing after another, right? RBG dying. Amy Coney Barrett getting elected and Gorsuch. And it’s just been one major national thing after another that required me to be right here in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, serving the community here that was scared to take an entire month to go cross country and do this. But at the end of the day, there’s never a good time to take a month off and do something when you have a full, fledgling, busy law practice so I just decided it was happening in 2023, come heck or high water. So here we are.

[00:19:54.190] – Speaker 5

Angela, will you have to expand your law license to other states?

[00:20:01.730] – Speaker 6

I’m licensed in Arizona, which we’re not even going to. I am in the midst of expanding the law firm nationwide as we speak. But no, I will be looking for volunteer attorneys in these cities, in these states that are licensed in Oklahoma, licensed in New Mexico, and doing much more radio and podcasts like this so that a lawyer in New Mexico hears this and then offers their services. All I need is for someone to hop on the caravan on that particular day and lend me their license for the day. Because obviously, I’m going to be being very public about the fact that I’m driving cross country providing these legal services, but I myself am not licensed in these. I don’t even know how many states we’re going to be in, but 13 to 15 states. I’m only licensed in Pennsylvania. We’re not in Jersey, so in two of them. So I will need lawyers from all these other states to hop on the caravan and make it, in fact, legal, what we’re doing. So that’s a very good question.

[00:21:11.770] – Speaker 5

I think it’s amazing. We got to go to break. Give everybody your phone number and your website address.

[00:21:18.490] – Speaker 6

Sure. So for today’s show, I’m going to give the Caravan of Pope’s website address. So caravanofhope.LGBT. Okay, so Caravan of Hope and not .com but .LGBT. And my phone number is 215-645-2415.

[00:21:36.530] – Speaker 5

We’re going to go to Break, and we will start making this a daily part of our show. Caravan of Hope. I love the name. I knew you would come up with a great name. There is no doubt about it. 

[00:26:00.730] – Speaker 5

So my last question to you is, what do you want to accomplish on this tour?

[00:26:16.940] – Speaker 6

For this particular tour, it’s to bring as much attention to LGBTQ folks in underserved and underrepresented areas, first and foremost. And secondly, to bring exactly like it sounds, to bring hope to the LGBTQ community across the country at a time when don’t say gay is going viral and the most anti LGBTQ bills are being passed and or introduced into legislation and books are being banned left and right. So at a time when hate and vitriol are really front and center and all we hear about in the news to bring something else into the news stream, right? Bring something happy and full of hope that while those people and unfortunately, people in power and politicians will continue to pass legislation like that and use rhetoric and propaganda like that, that there is hope and there is love. And for folks in middle America that don’t feel that as much as we do in cities and don’t hear that as much as we do in cities, that the caravan of hope will pass through and let them know that or remind them of that or show them that maybe for the first time. And that’s my hope.

[00:27:52.210] – Speaker 6

I remember when marriage equality passed, there’s one woman in particular that stands out. It was a couple of months after marriage equality, and I got an email from her in Mississippi, and she emailed me about her and her partner. And she’s 56, wanted to marry Her partner, she had no idea that marriage equality had passed. So you would think the whole country knew that marriage equality had passed. Right? We got the right to marry. Right? But this USPS postal woman, 56-year-old black woman in Mississippi, lesbian, had no idea that marriage equality had passed because of the bubble, the small town that she lived in that was full of vitriol and hate. And her email, when I emailed her back and told her that she could right. And we hopped on the phone and her and her partner crying. So we take a lot for granted being here in cities, and we think that what we know, everybody knows, and that’s just not the case. And so the Caravan, my hope for that is it brings hope and love to everyone who hears about it and a smile on their face like you have right now.

[00:29:01.310] – Speaker 5

I love that. I love that. This is amazing. And I think we should start promoting it every week. We got to get out of here. Angela, give everybody your phone number.

[00:29:14.740] – Speaker 6

Sure. So Caravanofhope.LGBT is the website. Please visit, and if you have any questions, call me. 215-645-2415. And Steve, good job. We got through today.

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