How Larkin And Lacey Transformed The Fight For Migrant Rights
If you’re a news publication, it’s more or less a silent obligation to provide readers with factual information. Well, that’s just what Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin did for years. Then, one lone night in 2007, the cops came knocking on their separate residences and took them both to jail.
And what followed was a tale that was convoluted with twists and turns that the two men thought they would never escape from it. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/blogs/az-aclu-honors-new-times-founders-jim-larkin-and-mike-lacey-as-civil-libertarians-of-the-year-6500737
The setting was Phoenix, Arizona and the real struggle wasn’t because they expressed the truth. It was the topic of the stories who found their reporting a problem. The main topic of the long running stories about policy abuses and corruption was Sheriff Joe Arpaio. So he had top legal people who orchestrated their arrest warrants
. It was Special Prosecutor, Dennis Wilenchik and the County Attorney, Andrew Thomas who arranged for a grand jury indictment of Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. The demand for story sources and all related documents was at the center of Arpaio’s protests, which lead to Lacey and Larkin being picked up in the middle of the night.
Arpaio demanded that they turn over everything used to gather background information for the stories about him and his administration; from January 1, 2004 to the date of their arrests, October 18, 2007.
He wanted all relevant materials including notes, recordings and tapes. Eventually, Lacey and Larkin had their arrests expunged and they sued Arapaio and Maricopa Count, citing abuse of their constitutional rights. Read more: Jim Larkin | LinkedIn and Village Voice Media | Wikipedia
The two men eventually won their lawsuit and were awarded a substantial amount of money and started a fund, the Larkin & Lacey Frontera Fund. Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin would stop at nothing, until they prevented what they went through from happening to other innocent people.
The irony in all of this was the fact that they stories they wrote about Sheriff Arpaio were about his history of targeting migrants for arrest, through racial profiling. The Fund began with that 3.73 million settlement award and the main focus was to help organizations throughout Arizona, which worked to protect migrant rights.
The growing concern for Lacey and Larkin wasn’t if they should support these organizations. It was how many of them could they help mobilize right away to do the most good. The fund has now expanded and fights for many local causes in the Arizona area and the surrounding regions; leading up to the Mexican border.
The Larkin & Lacey Frontera Fund has taken on many of today’s leading causes. Including fighting against building a wall at the border. However, the area that receives the most attention continues to be issues, initiatives and causes related to migrants and immigrants in Arizona.
And sometimes the fund even joins in supporting other states, such as launching opposition against the Texas Governor, for signing the “Anti-Immigration Bill.”