In 2007, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were dragged into dark tinted SUVs in the dead of night. Their crime was just writing.
The two journalist are co-founders of the Phoenix New Times and Village Voice Media. Their publications had been reporting on racial profiling among other crimes against immigrants, which is the primary objective they are called to pursue. The arrests were fundamentally facilitated by the most notorious offender, Maricopa County Sherriff, Joe Arpaio.
The Phoenix New Times had run stories on financial irregularities at the Sherriff’s office and unconstitutional detention of Latinos.
The Sherriff used his connections, and grand jury proceedings commenced to seek reporters’ notes on articles covering the Sherriff. The Phoenix New Times was further served with a subpoena to release the identity of the readers of the publication’s online segment.
The Indisputable Win
Jim and Michael wrote about it. In 2013, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal supported the claims of Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey. They affirmed that truly the sheriff’s office was targeting them. Read more: Jim Larkin | Crunchbase and Michael Lacey | Crunchbase
This paved the way for the $3.75 Million settlement, thus, the inception of Larkin and Lacey Frontera Fund. Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey dedicated the fund to support of immigrants who sought solace in the region.
The fund is geared towards supporting organizations that fight for civil, human and migrant rights as well as free speech and civic participation. The first organization to benefit was the Colibri Centre for Human Rights.
Others are the Arizona Ministry and DACA program. The Arizona State University also received $2 Million for a new journalism faculty that would focus on migrant issues. Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey only sought to do something decent with the settlement money.
Partners in the Journey
Larkin and Lacey Frontera Fund is not the only organization in this fight. The Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) was set up in the wake of the 1986 Act that made it illegal to hire undocumented workers. This made abuse and mistreatment of migrant employees rampant. CHIRLA works to shift public opinion while changing policy to ensure inclusion for all.
The American Civil Liberties Union is another advocate for the rights of immigrants. ACLU has been on the forefront of the fight for over 25 years. The advocacy group is involved in almost every legal battle involving immigrant rights.