For a long time, humans have been known to discriminate against each other with excuses based on ethnicity, race, and even immigration and economical status. In addition, people in government have often used their power to veil their misdoings.
One of them is Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio who orchestrated the arrest of journalists Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin in the dead of night, and jailed them for showing evidence that grand jury proceedings seeking the notes taken by reporters about the Sheriff existed. Read more: About Lacey and Larkin- Frontera Fund
Going against the Sheriff’s wildest expectations, however, the arrest of the two journalists only served to strengthen their voice against oppression and discrimination of the weak. Lacey and Larkin sued the county and succeeded in obtaining a $3.75 million settlement. The money, nevertheless, did not go into their pockets.
A Selfless Dedication in Human Rights Protection
Before the lawsuit and the resultant settlement, Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin had been actively involved in advocating for human, civil and migrants rights. The settlement was, therefore, a godsend for the co-founders of Village Voice Media and Phoenix Times.
Foregoing the chance to enrich themselves, they founded Lacy and Larkin Frontera Fund. The organization has channeled the settlement money into the support of various groups defending migrants rights and the right of everyone to live anywhere in the world regardless of race or ethnicity. They include the Florence Project, Arizona Justice Project, Arizona ACLU, American Immigration Council and Puente.
Advocating for Freedom of Speech
Apart from the arrest of the two journalists, there were grand jury subpoenas seeking to uncover the identity of thousands of people who read the online articles about Arpaio. This only served to add insult to the injury of the two journalists who had spent their lives asserting as well as defending their First Amendment rights.
As a reply and in a bid to intensify the fight against any attempt to muffle them and others, Lacey and Larkin also dedicated the fund to advocate for freedom of speech along with human, civil and immigrants rights. One of the fund’s recipients is the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which advocates for free internet speech.
The fight against racial, ethnic, and immigrant status discrimination is far from won. However, the increasing emergence of various groups and organizations joining it is encouraging. Above all, the dedication and selflessness of such individuals as Lacey and Larkin is inspiring and spells great hope for everyone who is at risk of being discriminated against for any reason.