If you were falsely arrested, sued those who arrest you, win a case against them and awarded close to four million dollars by the court, what would you do with the money? Would you buy a new car, a house or tour the world? Would you ever think of starting a charity to fight for other people’s rights and freedom? Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: https://about.me/michael-lacey
I doubt. Yet, that is exactly what Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin did. They started a charity fund, the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund, with their settlement money.
This is how it happened: Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were two veteran journalists. The two were fearless in their work. They dedicated their work in championing for human rights. They were on the forefront of defending the oppressed minority by articulating their suffering. They also unearthed those behind the mistreatment of the minority and made sure that the public knew about them.
Their daring spirit led to their arrest after they wrote a story about a notorious sheriff, Joe Arpaio. Sheriff Joe had presented himself as untouchable, a demi-god who used his power and office to discriminate, mistreat and abuse minority groups. Upon the running of the story, the Sheriff ordered for their arrest and prosecution. However, as the old adage goes, the truth will always prevail. Michael and Jim were later released from jail after it was found out that they had been falsely arrested and accused.
They then sued the county. The court favored them and awarded them 3.75 million dollars as resettlement. Having been arrested for fighting for the rights of the minorities, Michael and Jim decided to use the resettlement money to set up the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund to help other groups that advocate for the rights of the minorities with funds.
Over the years, this organization has effortlessly been working in makings sure that the rights of the immigrants are respected and their dignity preserved. The organization operates in Arizona and along the Mexican border.
Many countries lack legal systems that uphold the civil rights, human and migrant rights. That, coupled with huge legal fees has left most migrants and refugees to face the blunt force law in certain countries in silence. Some have been arrested, accused falsely and even jailed because they lacked people to defend them. Others lacked significant knowledge regarding the laws of the country. Read more: Jim Larkin | Crunchbase and Village Voice Media | Wikipedia
To be of assistance in organizing lawyers and law students succeed in fighting for both human and legal rights of refugees through legal help and policy advocacy, the International Refugee Assistance Project was formed. The project empowers members with legal knowledge on how to articulate the rights of refugees through legal means.
Another organization that works similar to International Refugee Assistance Project is the Immigration Legal Resource Center, a national resource center that helps in training lawyers and advocates, as well as communities to advocate for the rights and well-being of immigrants. It also participates in county, state and federal advocacy work and has been key in calling for the rights of immigrants and minorities.
Lacey and Larkin: From Frontera to Front Page
One of the biggest stories to come out of ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s seemingly endless tenure, was the wrongful arrest of Phoenix New Times founders Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. Arpaio did questionable things throughout his career as Sheriff, most revolving around his questionable treatment of the Latino community. Lacey and Larkin, advocates of the first amendment and civil rights, butted heads with Arpaio on many occasions. Time after time their reporters uncovered scandals within Arpaio’s office, exposing the rest of the country to the other side of “America’s Toughest Sheriff”. Arpaio responded in kind by fully investigating the paper, an act Lacey and Larkin held as unconstitutional. When the duo printed a confidential subpoena issued to the paper by the Arizona Supreme Court, Arpaio was able to arrest them for a criminal act. The arrest did not stick, and has since come back on Arpaio. After a 24 day incarceration Lacey and Larkin were freed. In ensuing years they sued Maricopa County for wrongful arrest and won. In 2013 they received a $3.75 million dollar payout and in 2014 used the payout to create the Frontera Fund.
The Frontera Fund allocates money from Lacey and Larkin’s payout to Latino groups that advocate migrant rights. These groups fight for human, civil, and migrant rights ensuring that minorities get a fair shake. As Lacey and Larkin are partial to the Latino community, who they admire for their strength and fortitude, they formed the fund to directly assist them. The Frontera Fund gives money to groups based on two factors, one they have to be Arizona-based, and two they have to focus on migrant rights. The duo has also returned to the news with the formation of Front Page Confidential, a counterculture news source advocating for the first amendment.