Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin: Giving the Migrant Population a Voice

Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin are the founders of the Phoenix New Times. After dropping out of college in 1970, Lacey and Larkin started the publication to combat the ultra-conservative media surrounding them at the time.

The paper began to grow in popularity as the two men began to show their good heads for business and journalism. In 1983, the publication grew even further when they were able to publish 17 more papers, including the Village Voice. This success in the journalism field gave them a lot of experience with the plight of the everyday man and helped shape their worldview.

In 2007, both men were to experience abuse of power and violation of civil rights first hand. In the middle of the night on October 18, they were taken from their homes because of something published in their paper.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio had issued an order for their arrest after he saw that they had published a story about grand jury proceedings issued against him and his office. While the paperwork for the proceedings turned out to be forged, Arpaio still violated the two men’s human rights and they received a settlement for $3.75 million. They then drew on their experiences to establish the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund. This fund is dedicated to helping organizations that advocate for the human rights of migrants in Arizona.

When it comes to the law, Lacey and Larkin now have first-hand experience. This is probably why they have such an amicable relationship with the Arizona Justice Project. The Arizona Justice Project is dedicated to helping migrants that have been falsely or unfairly imprisoned.

This is a situation like that of Lacey and Larkin, but usually far worse. To help those that have been unfairly persecuted, the organization will work with law schools, investigators, and pro-bono lawyers to help bring justice to those that deserve it.

When Lacey and Larkin dreamed up their fund, it was to help projects such as this. This group looks for people that feel as though they are not being heard, and they give them a voice. The Arizona Justice Project shows them that there is someone that will fight for their human rights, regardless of their status.

They leave in their wake a plethora of individuals who are thrilled that they did not give up on their fight. Surely with their new partnership and continued support from the community, they will be able to help those that are unfairly accused well into the future.

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