Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin have turned a harrowing experience into an opportunity to help others in need of the same kinds of legal services that helped them win their own freedom. Co-founders of Phoenix New Times and Village Voice Media, Lacey and Larkin have always been strong proponents of free speech and freedom of the press, but their passion for justice earned them the scorn of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
In October of 2007, Sheriff Arpaio had the two journalists arrested for revealing details of grand jury proceedings and for sharing the news that the identities of New Times readers were sought by that grand jury.
Those events led to a lawsuit filed by Mr. Lacey and Mr. Larkin against Maricopa County. The suit eventually landed in the United States Court of Appeals for the ninth circuit, where the journalists finally achieved victory.
Michael and Jim have since devoted their time and their $3.75 million settlement to establishing the Frontera Fund, an organization that seeks to protect civil, human, and migrant rights.
Today, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin take an active role in running a Frontera Fund website, melding their passion for journalism with their desire to protect others. The site shines a light on current events, as they pertain to the rights of those unprotected by big government and American corporations.
Recently, the Frontera Fund website published an article questioning the treatment of immigrant military personnel, suggesting the United States uses these individuals for their service, before threatening to deport them.
Through a special government program, immigrants who are not yet American citizens are permitted to enlist in the military, if they possess unique skills, such as being bilingual or possessing knowledge of a disputed region. Now, the government is planning to scrap that program and deport the participants. Frontera Fund seeks to shine a light on that injustice.
Similarly, Larkin and Lacey covered the plans to discontinue a program designed to help immigrant youths stay in the United States. Under DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), younger immigrants can continue to work in the United States, earning a better life for themselves and their families. The act also allows them to attend colleges and universities. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/
The government is attempting to rescind that act, which will result in endangering the lives of many young immigrants. While local immigrant workers organized a Fourth of July demonstration to protest the rescinding of the act, plans remain on course for the dissolution of DACA.
Again, Michael and Jim are using their Frontera Fund website to help draw attention to this cause, before it’s too late.
The Frontera Fund founders haven’t forgotten about the man who prompted their new crusade for justice, either. Lacey and Larkin have dedicated a portion of their website to keeping an eye on Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the county sheriff’s office in general. While articles in that section of the Frontera Fund’s website are fewer, they do cover the recent elections for sheriff and news items related to the county jail.
Whether tackling civil injustices or standing up for immigrants against government abuses, Michael Lacey and Joe Larkin have dedicated their lives to ensuring equal rights for all with Frontera Fund’s vast resources.