Let’s face it. In the world we live in today, especially if you are currently residing in American territory, the challenge of equal rights for civilians, immigrants, our African American brothers and sisters, the LGBT community, all of it, is super hard to deal with and fight against.
We must face reality that there is racism, that there is prejudice in government authorities, and that we need to continue to fight for the rights of those who are getting trampled around us. And while there are plenty of organizations and groups that fight against this struggle faced today, let’s hone in on one group specifically; the Lace and Larkin Frontera Fund.
While the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund may not directly deal with protests and events that fight for the civil rights movement near the Mexican border and in Arizona as well, this organization most definitely supports, financially and in spirit, those who are fighting for those rights around them. Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin have quite the story, and it is their mission to share this story with those around them to help fight back as well.
On October 18, 2007, Lacey and Larkin were arrested late into the night by men wearing sheriff badges who were sent by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Lacey and Larkin were two journalists at the time that had just published an article that same day that covered the grand jury proceedings with the County Attorney at the time, Andrew Thomas, as well as Dennis Wilenchik, who had attempted to have a secret meeting with the appointed judge for this specific case. What was the case?
Thomas had subpoenaed names of all who had read the New Times online, which Lacey and Larkin co-founded, as well as the websites they had browsed through before and after reading the New Times Online. Needless to say, it was a sticky mess to write about and uncovered lots of dirt, so Sheriff Joe Arpaio had enough with the two journalists and arrested them. Learn more about Jim Larkin: https://www.crunchbase.com/person/jim-larkin-2#/entity
Although they were released after twenty four hours of holding, Lacey and Larkin were detained illegally, and they were not happy campers. This began the long process of a court battle where the two writers sued Maricopa County for defying their first amendment rights, which resulted in $3.7 million dollars given to the two men by the Maricopa County years later in 2013. But it was worth the battle.
Now, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, co-founders of Village Voice Media and Phoenix New Times, use the money from this settlement in 2013, as well as other money raised and given, to support groups advocating for human and migrant rights, as well as those fighting for freedom of speech and civic participation in Arizona, as well as those advocating on La Línea Fronteriza, which is the Mexican border.
This is such a solid example and reminder of taking what was meant for bad and turning it into something good. Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin did not let a night in jail defy them, instead the fought hard and are now fighting hard along side others for one thing: justice.