February 27, 2017 9:00 am

ACLU sees sharp jump in membership, support in Illinois

Support for ACLU in Illinois jumps sharply in 2017, tracking national trend

CHICAGO – Viewing the organization as a critical line of defense for basic rights being threatened by political changes, Illinois residents are joining the ACLU of Illinois at record numbers in 2017. The group’s paid membership has more than doubled since the election of Donald Trump as President in November 2016.  Over the same period, the group’s advocacy network – supporters who receive a weekly email inviting individuals to take action on substantive issues – has more than tripled.  The ACLU plans to use this growth in membership and support as part of a plan to protect Illinois residents from the reckless and dangerous proposals coming from the White House and Congress.

“We are grateful for the increase in membership and support,” said Edwin C. Yohnka of the ACLU. “At the same time, we know that this is just the beginning. We will need everyone to be involved in protecting those whose rights may be affected by the proposals of this White House – Muslims, immigrants, women seeking reproductive health care, LGBTQ people and young people of color who might be victims of police misconduct.”

The ACLU is working tirelessly in Illinois and across the nation to protect the rights for these and other people threatened by overreach from Washington.

The ACLU of Illinois has seen its membership grow from fewer than 20,000 dues-paying members in November to more than 50,000 last week, and the number continues to grow.  Meantime, the organization’s advocacy network of email subscribers has swelled from just more than 30,000 in November to more than 100,000 in February 2017.

Another sign of the growing strength and relevancy of the organization is attendance for the group’s annual Lunch, set this year for March 17th.  Last year, the event attracted approximately 900 supporters.  The ACLU of Illinois has had to close down ticket sales this year with more than 2,000 already sold.

“The response to our work since the inauguration has been gratifying,” added the ACLU’s Yohnka. “It reinforces what values are important to our society. We are not going to allow this White House to divide us one against another and we see that many, many people are responding to that message.”

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