What is redistricting and why should we care about it?

[Click to download: Redistricting Information Templates, GLACLU [PDF]]

Redistricting is the process of redrawing the lines of districts from which public officials are elected. Redistricting typically takes place every ten years following the census, and impacts which voters elect which members of Congress, state and local legislators, and other elected officials. The next round of redistricting will begin following the 2020 Census.

When done properly and fairly, redistricting ensures that districts fairly reflect population shifts and growth, and that policymakers represent the values and interests of their constituents.

However, when done improperly, redistricting can result in partisan gerrymandering, minority vote dilution, and districts that favor incumbents. Voter turnout can decrease, as confidence in the legitimacy of the electoral system wanes.

Key​ ​Reasons​ ​to​ ​Support​ ​Redistricting​ ​Reform:

Transparency:​ Redistricting bodies should conduct their business in public sessions and allow constituents to provide testimony as part of the redistricting process. A process that is open to the public encourages input from community members and reduces the risk of partisanship or other undue factors playing a role.

Partisanship:​ ​Partisan gerrymandering occurs when the controlling political party draws district lines to benefit their party over the minority party. This process can make outcomes of races a foregone conclusion and/or ensure a political party is underrepresented in the legislature, hurting our system of democratic governance.

Community:​ Building districts around communities with common interests must be a goal of any redistricting body. Communities that are likely to have similar legislative concerns should have united representation in their legislative bodies.

What can you do about it?

Start by downloading our information sheet, which includes the legislators in our area who make decisions about redistricting in Indiana, a template for what to say, and additional explanations for why redistricting is so important. Write your legislators and let them know where you stand.

We DEMAND a fair, bipartisan redistricting commission in 2018.

[Click to download: Redistricting Information Templates, GLACLU [PDF]]

President’s Message

Looking at the news this year often feels like trying to get a drink from a fire hose. From the diplomatic issues in North Korea and Russia and the revisitations of “rigged” elections, to the deluge of sexual assault and harassment accounts in the media, it’s hard to know where to put your resources.

The ACLU – through our grassroots organizing body called People Power – has one suggestion that will have long-lasting implications nationwide: electoral reform.

People Power outlined a 50 state push, with electoral reform efforts that would change the policies and processes that run American elections state-by-state based on that state’s most pressing need. For example, other states will focus on restoring the right to vote for people with prior criminal convictions; creating independent, nonpartisan redistricting commissions; enacting early voting periods; and implementing automatic voter registration, online voter registration, and Election Day registration. Indiana will focus on redistricting efforts.

Redistricting on its face is very simple and clear, but the execution is not. Unfair application of redistricting principles – called gerrymandering – is a process by which the political party in power gains advantage over the opposition party by manipulating the boundaries of electoral districts to create partisan, incumbent-protected districts. District lines might be drawn to carve up community interests, make one party a voting majority in a district, or draw a politician’s house into his own district. The technological arms race has fostered a political cottage industry around map making, involving supercomputers, teams of lawyers, and scads of data.

Indiana’s House districts are some of the worst gerrymandered in the country. Study after study in Indiana has shown that the interests of voters would be best served by having a bipartisan panel draw district lines based on research data, public review, and census results, to create contiguous districts that are nearly equal in population and avoid breaching precinct or community boundaries. It is unlikely, however, that lawmakers currently in power will give up their ability to elect themselves without intervention. Previous pushes for redistricting have been struck down or died in committee.

Long story short, elections in Indiana are in fact rigged, and we plan to un-rig them.

This struggle could be long and hard. But as Hoosiers and defenders of our civil liberties, the right to equitable representation in our state and local government is one of the more fundamental struggles within reach.

In 2018 and onward, the Greater Lafayette ACLU will be partnering with the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, and others, to push forward our goal to redraw district lines in Indiana. We hope you will join us in our efforts.

Lauren Bruce
President, Greater Lafayette American Civil Liberties Union

The ACLU and the Fight For Our Constitution

When it was confirmed that the presidential nominee whose campaign promises snuffed the Constitution had indeed been elected, ACLU donations and new memberships suddenly poured in.

When President Trump was sworn in, and that day the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents regarding business conflicts of interest and violations of the Emoluments Clause, the donations and new memberships surged.

When Trump promptly started enacting his campaign promises including the Muslim ban and the ACLU filed its constitutional challenge, the donations and new memberships crescendoed.

Now, with membership tripled to 1.2 million and over $80 million in new online contributions, the ACLU is reinforcing its state affiliates, hiring new litigators/advocacy professionals/support staff and expanding office space to accommodate them.

National is also strengthening the membership database system and launching a grassroots mobilization plan. As always, the bulk of the money will go to program — the ACLU ratio is 86% program and 14% management including fund-raising.

The ACLU has lawsuits in the works to challenge attempts to deport millions of undocumented immigrants. Other suits will confront discrimination by federal employees and agencies targeting LGBT equality and reproductive rights under the color of religious freedom. The ACLU stands vigilant and primed to fight any violation of the liberties and rights guaranteed by our Constitution.

As a vital addition to sustained litigation, the ACLU is constructing a nationwide platform for grassroots mobilization to oppose Trump’s attacks on civil liberties. The program will enlist and engage members in all affiliates to partner with national in lobbying activities, town hall advocacy, acts of organized protest, and other calls to action.

The platform, People Power, is being shaped and erected by digital organizers who worked in the White House, the Bernie Sanders campaign, and other leading activist groups. If you haven’t already, today is the day for you to sign up at and become a team activist. The ACLU is no longer a paternalistic you-write-the-check-and-we’ll-take-care-of-the- rest organization. The ACLU is recruiting a formidable force of civil liberties champions. Organizers say our force will “defend sanctuary cities, resist deportation raids, oppose the Muslim Ban, maintain Planned Parenthood funding and support other organizational priorities.” The work that lies ahead will be tough. Now is the time to join the resistance and amplify its power.

Who, exactly, are the ACLU?

We are always surprised when people ask us, “What, exactly, is the ACLU?” For us, because we are so involved, the answer seems pretty obvious, but simply because of the question, we are led to examine our response.

The ACLU is nearly 100 years old – that is undeniable. It was founded in 1920 by an amazing group of individuals, including Felix Frankfurter, future US Supreme Court Justice.

The mission of the ACLU is “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution of the United States.” That it accomplishes by litigation in State and Federal courts on behalf of people whose civil liberties have been denied.

That mission has led the ACLU to successfully secure the rights of interracial couples to marry, the rights of LGBT couples to marry and adopt children, the rights of prisoners to be free from torture, and prevent government preferences for religion over non-religion or favoring certain faiths over others, the protection of individuals to speak out against government agencies and lots, lots, more. The ACLU has done way more than we could possibly list here.

Have you or someone you know been directly affected by the actions of the ACLU? Probably, yes.

Today, the ACLU is the largest and most active organization working to protect us from the actions and proposed actions of the government that are in direct violation of the Constitution.

That is the short version of what the ACLU is.

But, who is the ACLU?

We are the ACLU. Each of us who supports the ACLU with our actions and contributions. Every one of us. Everyone who realizes that separately we can accomplish very little, but together we have strength and power. We are not the litigators, but we support the litigators. We are not the legal scholars or Constitutional experts, but we make their work possible.

We invite each of you to join the ACLU if you are not already among its members.

And we invite you to join us at this year’s Annual Dinner on April 19 to learn more about the “5 Things You Can Do” to work with the ACLU at this critical time in our history.

Judy Weitzman
Lauren Bruce
Co-Presidents, GLACLU

Know Your Rights as a Protester

[Click to download PDF: KNOW YOUR RIGHTS – Protesters]

The right to join with fellow citizens in protest or peaceful assembly is critical to a functioning democracy and at the core of the First Amendment. Unfortunately, law enforcement officials sometimes violate this right through means intended to thwart free public expression.

The ACLU has scads of writing on the rights of protesters and what to do if you believe your rights have been violated.

The Greater Lafayette ACLU has condensed these writings and made them available for you to print and disperse. This is a two-page downloadable document that includes the fundamentals for understanding protesters’ rights, and best practices you should follow if your rights have been violated by the state.

[Click to download PDF: KNOW YOUR RIGHTS – Protesters]

2016 in Review

GLACLU participated in three Black Lives Matter events since the spring newsletter.

  • ACLU of Indiana’s First Wednesday forum in September was hosted at the West Lafayette Public Library. The First Wednesday forum ‘Black Lives Matter: Diving Deeper into a Movement’ was moderated by Dave Bangert of the Lafayette Journal & Courier with panelists Jane Henegar, executive director of the ACLU of Indiana; Marlo David, Associate Professor of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Purdue UniversityNa’eemah Webb, a doctoral student at Purdue University; and West Lafayette Police Department Chief Jason Dombkowski. Presenters spoke about mechanisms of institutional racism, the experience raising black children in a racist culture, and solutions to improve policing practices. The forum was well attended and ended with a lively question and answer session.
  • We partnered with the Unitarian Universalist congregation in two open houses to share concerns, resources and hope for a path away from institutional racism. The GLACLU table at the BLM events at the UU church shared information on the ACLU and our long history of activities to defend the civil liberties of black Americans. The state chapter has provided informative, professionally produced materials for distribution at community events. These were helpful in engaging event participants in discussions of ACLU support for civil liberties.

The path to an America where all lives really do matter has been long and we have miles to go. Election of our first black president has raised the undercurrents of racism to roil the surface of our ‘melting pot’.

We at GLACLU plan to continue to discuss and educate about race and civil liberties. Please join us for upcoming events. Like the Greater Lafayette ACLU Facebook page to keep up to date on our events.

An Intro to INCLO, the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations

Those who dream of the globalization of civil liberties will cheer the news that the ACLU has a sister organization. It is the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO), a group that shares information and collaborates to promote fundamental liberties and rights of all persons in their respective countries. Like the ACLU, each of the member organizations is multi-issue, multi-constituency, and independent of its government.

The network is comprised of the domestic civil liberties and human rights organizations of twelve countries:

International efforts to promote freedom started in 2008 with a series of meetings of the executive directors of civil liberties and human rights organizations and formalized itself in 2012 with a structure and staff. In 2015 INCLO incorporated as a Swiss association with headquarters in Geneva. Its governing body is the 12 executive directors of each of the network’s organizations. The network supports the work of the member organizations through litigation, legislative campaigning, public education, and grass-roots advocacy. Following are some highlights of its work on the issues of police brutality and social protest, informational rights, and religious freedom and equal treatment.

Police Brutality and Social Protest

Informational Rights

  • 2015: participation of six INCLO members in litigation by the UK’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal challenging government surveillance. This produced landmark rulings that both the previous UK-US data sharing and the handling of intercepted private communications of the Legal Resource Center (South Africa’s INCLO member) were unlawful. These were the first times the Tribunal ruled against agencies dealing with transnational mass digital surveillance.
  • the launch, with INCLO support, of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union website promoting privacy enhancing technologies (
  • participation of INCLO members in the successful drive to get the UN Human Rights Council to approve the creation of a Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy.

Religious Freedom and Equal Treatment

Joan Laskowski
ACLU of Indiana Legislation Committee Chair

An Introduction to the GLACLU

After the results of the 2016 election, we are experiencing an influx of people interested in assisting the American Civil Liberties Union in our mission. Hello, and welcome.


The ACLU is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that seeks to protect and preserve the civil liberties granted to U.S. citizens by the Constitution and other laws in the United States. The ACLU is active nationally, and in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Many states also have local chapters, such as the Greater Lafayette ACLU.

The Greater Lafayette ACLU was organized in 1955 and has been active over the last 60 years, with the mission to provide educational opportunities to the Greater Lafayette area, and support the Indiana ACLU with awareness, advocacy, advisement, and fundraising initiatives.

We take on politicians and government officials who ignore the Constitution and put liberty at risk. We don’t answer to polls or to the whims of the electorate. We get out the facts, and when our freedoms are on the line, we mobilize grassroots support to protect our civil liberties.

We educate the next generation of civil libertarians, and the public. Our outreach programs help thousands of Hoosiers understand their constitutional rights and what they must do to protect them.

We challenge intolerance and bigotry wherever we find it. We work to root out any and all attempts to deny people the equal protection under the law that the Constitution guarantees.


The GLACLU funds educational initiatives in Greater Lafayette and supports the state ACLU’s research, education, and litigation efforts.

The Indiana ACLU brings cases against government entities on behalf of Hoosiers whose rights have been curbed by anti-Constitutional laws brought within the state. Led by Jane Henegar and litigated by Bloomington attorney and professor Ken Falk, the Indiana chapter has an extremely successful record of litigation. Recent victories include:

The GLACLU board members meet monthly at the Unitarian Universalist church in West Lafayette, at 7PM on the second Wednesday of the month. If you are interested in attending meetings or serving on the board, please contact us to confirm meeting times, as meetings are sometimes moved. At meetings, we discuss current events, educational opportunities for the Lafayette area, upcoming state initiatives, and fundraising efforts. We have over 200 years of collective activist experience on the board, and meetings are often informative, entertaining, and inspirational.


We anticipate that many laws testing the limits of our civil liberties  — including your right to freedom of speech, your rights to privacy, your right to peacefully assemble in protest, your right to practice your religion freely without state interference, and more — will be coming to the U.S. soon. Anxieties are warranted and the ACLU is ready and able to work on your behalf.

Here’s what you can do to support us:

  1. Report violations of constitutional liberties. This is, after all, our mission. From disability rights to youth rights, to protecting prisoners from discrimination and cruel and unusual punishment, to protecting religious liberty, free speech, privacy, voting rights and much more, the ACLU is here to help you protect and preserve your Constitutional rights. For us to take up a case, the criteria are as follows:
    1. Your civil liberties must have been violated by a government entity;
    2. Your issue concerns a right or freedom protected by the U.S. or Indiana Constitutions;
    3. You are the person or party whose constitutional rights have been violated. We are not able to accept complaints made by third parties.

The Indiana ACLU accepts these complaints directly here and will notify you whether or not your case can be litigated. If it is not, we do have resources available for those who we are unable to assist with litigation.

  1. Join the local ACLU. Annual membership dues for the local chapter are $10, and help fund educational initiatives in Greater Lafayette and support the state ACLU’s research, education, and litigation efforts. Send dues along with email and/or snail mail addresses to:

ACLU of Indiana
Greater Lafayette Chapter
PO Box 2706
West Lafayette, IN 47906

We send an bi-annual newsletter by mail with editorial and informational content, and are building our email list now for calls for more immediate local action. We promise not to share your information or spam your inbox.

    1. Join the state ACLU. You will strengthen our lobbying efforts and grassroots activity by becoming a member of the state ACLU. Paying annual dues of $35 or more entitles you to a membership in BOTH the state and national ACLU.
    2. Attend a board meeting. Board meetings are on the second Wednesday of each month. We meet at the UU Church in West Lafayette, 333 Meridian St, West Lafayette, Indiana. We discuss current events, educational opportunities for the Lafayette area, upcoming state initiatives, and fundraising efforts, and welcome member participation.
    3. Attend our events. We host regular lunchtime talks, an annual fundraising dinner, and weekend events throughout the year. We discuss civil liberties issues happening locally, statewide, and nationally, and provide networking opportunities for activists to make deeper and more meaningful connections in the community.
    4. Take initiative. When the horn is sounded for action, take the time to follow through on writing or calling your representatives. Many representatives hear little from the electorate, and are voting to confirm or deny laws without much citizen input. You can change that by devoting a small amount of time following through on these calls to action. Generally speaking, a phone call is more powerful than an email. Sometimes the ACLU will need warm bodies to support organizational efforts as well. Make time to assist. Oftentimes, the time needed to assist an organization like ours is only a few hours a month or less.
    5. Support your neighbors. Living in a Big Ten town, we have a unique opportunity to seed our efforts with locals, faculty, and students, some of whom will stay and grow a culture of advocacy and organization in Greater Lafayette, and some who will take their experiences with them to new areas of the state, nation and globe. It is important that we listen to, respect, and support one another during anxious times, and nurture a culture of advocacy and organization so our efforts can continue wherever we end up.
    6. Get active, period. The ACLU may not be the right organization for your time and energy, and we appreciate that. There may be other organizations that better fit your resources and expertise. Find them, ask what they need, and then do that. Become an expert in it, and tell everyone you know why this work is so important. The secret sauce of political organizing is awareness, amplification, and learning how to show up and show out — every time, en masse.

We welcome your interest in our organization and are thrilled to have your attention.  Please continue to agitate for the respect and preservation of civil liberties while we plan the 2017 season of the GLACLU. We promise we have much in store for you in the coming days.

Lauren Bruce
Judy Weitzman
Presidents, Greater Lafayette ACLU

BLACK LIVES MATTER: Diving Deeper into A Movement

This summer, the nonpartisan Pew Research Center released a disturbing report about race and inequality in the United States. The report concluded from survey data that four in ten Blacks are doubtful that our country will ever achieve racial equality, and that whites have “widely different perceptions” about what life is like in this U.S. for people of color. These divides make clear that we have much more work to do if we are to achieve understanding about the entrenched problems of racial inequality.

We hope you will join us on Wednesday, September 7 as we convene a First Wednesdays panel in West Lafayette to discuss racial justice and policing.

Black Lives Matter: Diving Deeper into A Movement
Wed., Sept. 7, 12-1 p.m.
Check-in begins at 11:30 a.m.
West Lafayette Public Library
208 W Columbia Street
West Lafayette, IN 47906

The event is FREE and open to the public, and is part of our statewide First Wednesdays series. Smart, civil and only an hour.

Our panel includes moderator Dave Bangert of the Lafayette Journal & Courier; Jane Henegar, executive director of the ACLU of Indiana; Marlo David and Na’eemah Webb of Purdue University and West Lafayette Police Department Chief Jason Dombkowski.

Hope to see you there!

Coming to our June 2016 Ice Cream Social?

Please join us on Wednesday, June 8,  for an ice cream social, with visitors Katie Blair and Jane Henegar from the Indianapolis ACLU, to chat about the state of civil rights in Indiana. If you’ve been paying attention to state politics, you know we’ve got a lot to discuss.

We will meet at 7 PM at the Unitarian Universalist Church in West Lafayette, and snacks, seats, and exhilarating company will be provided.

Please RSVP here so we save you a cone.

Directions below: