The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana announced a three-year drive to raise funds for a statewide effort to expand its capabilities, educate Indiana residents about human and Constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms, and lead the fight against violations of those rights.
“More and more actions by local and state lawmakers, government agencies, school systems and others are revealing a climate in Indiana that is ignorant at best and hostile at worst to our guaranteed rights,” ACLU-IN Executive Director Gilbert Holmes said. “Hundreds of times a month, the ACLU is asked by Indiana residents to stand with them to defend their rights, liberties and freedoms.”
Holmes said that the ACLU of Indiana has stood for 58 years in its role of advocacy, litigation, education and community outreach. In recent months, ACLU-IN has prevented the application of new state laws that punitively discriminated against women’s reproductive health and that denied basic rights to foreign nationals living and working within the state.
“We have established a well-respected record in court,” Holmes said, “but with the recent rise of attacks on freedom of speech and religion; discrimination on the basis of gender, nationality and sexual orientation; and violations of rights of privacy, it’s clear that Indiana is losing touch with the Constitution and Bill of Rights.”
The cornerstone of the fund-raising drive, called “Raising the Bar for Civil Liberties,” is a $500,000 gift from the Sara Reuben Revocable Trust. The gift created the Albert G. and Sara I. Reuben Memorial Fund for Civil Liberties and Justice. Albert and Sara Reuben were long active in community and philanthropic work in Central Indiana. The gift to ACLU of Indiana was among a number of grants announced by the Sara Reuben Revocable Trust this year.
ACLU of Indiana has added a full-time development director, Ron Newlin, to its small staff to coordinate the “Raising the Bar for Civil Liberties” fund drive. A communications/education director position will be filled shortly. Funds contributed to the campaign will be used to support expanded operations, build an endowment and support capital improvements.
The ACLU of Indiana is the Indiana affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU is dedicated to protecting the freedoms guaranteed to Indiana residents and businesses by the Indiana and United States Constitutions.